NEWS

Supreme Court upholds Iranian woman’s appeal against extradition

IOANNA MANDROU

TAGS: Justice

The Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned the extradition of a 37-year-old Iranian woman who fled to Greece with her young daughter last year in order to allegedly escape an abusive husband and political persecution.

Sarare Khandemi was arrested on an international warrant after crossing the Evros border in northeastern Greece from Turkey illegally in the summer of 2018. She claimed to have fled her abusive husband, who has accused her of abducting their 6-year-old daughter and of treason, using his knowledge of the fact that she secretly filmed anti-government protests and gave the footage to television broadcasters.

The Supreme Court judges in Athens ruled to overturn an earlier decision from a court in Thrace in northern Greece for Khandemi’s extradition, arguing that her life “may be at risk” is she returns to Iran. They also ordered her release from prison.

Khandemi, who has applied for international protection, welcomed the ruling with tears, thanking the judges for their decision.

Appealing to the court against her extradition earlier this month, the 37-year-old had said that her husband beat her regularly and broke her arm during one of his more vicious assaults, adding that she had reported him to the authorities twice and had been ignored. She also said that she feared imprisonment and even capital punishment over her political beliefs if was returned to Iran.

“If I surrender to the regime, I will die and my daughter will be given to my husband. He already has plans to marry her off when she’s 9 years old,” she had said. 

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