Rojavan elderly couple suffer 12 days in custody in Turkey

The Rojavan elderly couple Hebo Hanefa and Nouri Khalil were detained in Istanbul Ataturk Airport on their way to Iraq from Denmark. The couple, over 60 years old both, don’t speak a word of Turkish, and can’t learn why they are detained for 12 days.

The Rojavan couple Hebo Hanefa and Nouri Khalil were detained in Istanbul Ataturk Airport on their way to Iraq from Denmark, where they are political asylum seekers. The couple don’t know why they were detained, and have been held in the Vatan Police Headquarters for the last 12 days. I met Hebo Hanefa when I was taken into custody on October 25 for sharing articles on my social media. I was able to learn what they went through thanks to translations by Nazife Onay, who is a teacher dismissed from her job by a statutory decree (KHK). I stayed in the same detention room as Hebo Hanefa, over 60 years old, told me how she was take into custody in Ataturk Airport while she was travelling from Denmark to Iraq to visit their relatives.


Hebo Hanefa went on a hunger strike for a couple of days to support Nazife Onay’s hunger strike as they met in the same ward in custody, but had to stop due to her health. She was treated somehow worse in the Anti-terror Unit because she is Rojavan. The FETÖ-suspects in custody had their ward doors left open, while the elderly Hebo Hanefa with hypertension and an eye condition who doesn’t speak a word of Turkish had to bang on the ward’s metal bars to call on the police officer on duty to take her medicine and fulfill her hygienic needs, and deliberately wasn’t responded to at times. We only managed to get Hebo Hanefa her medicine after we banged on the bars constantly for quite a while and screamed at the top of our lungs with Nazife, and had a lengthy discussion with the police officer that arrived afterwards.


Hebo Hanefa was only able to see her only family member, her husband Nouri Khalil, during their routine hospital visits. She has been in custody for 12 days in a country where she doesn’t speak the language or know the land. The 7-day detention period has been extended for another week for Hebo Hanefa and her husbnad Nouri Khalil, who are able to meet with their lawyers but they do not know what they are detained for.