"Turkey: Iranian Atheist Risks Death Penalty If Repatriated," from ANSAmed, November 30
(ANSAmed) - ANKARA, NOVEMBER 30 - Turkish authorities will be announcing their decision in the coming days over whether or not to repatriate an Iranian citizen who - having escaped from her country after publicly declaring she was an atheist - could be sentenced to death for apostasy if sent back.
Negar Azizmoradi, Iranian leader of the controversial International Raelian Movement, was arrested just over a week ago in Istanbul on her arrival in the city with an "irregular" passport, and since then has been held in a refugee centre in the Turkish metropolis.
Raelians are part of a sect founded in 1974 by the former sports journalist Claude Vorilhon, 63, as known as Rael.
His followers believe that human beings were created on Earth by extraterrestrials with biogenetical engineering, and therefore consider themselves to be atheist and support human cloning, which they believe to be the key to eternal life.
Appeals to help the thirty-something Iranian woman have been launched by both the Raelian movement and Iranian refugee groups abroad. In them, Turkish authorities have been asked to release the woman - who reportedly has caught a lung infection in jail - and allow her to go to a European country.