London – CAGE is concerned about the sudden deportation of Sufyan Mustafa from the Netherlands to Turkey without warning. Mr Mustafa’s ordeal began after the Home Office stripped him of his British citizenship in 2016, rendering him effectively stateless. The citizenship deprivation regime in the UK places Britons with foreign ancestry as forever second class citizens. They can have their citizenship stripped, with no meaningful recourse to justice.

In 2013 Sufyan Mustafa travelled to Syria to join the ranks of the Syrian revolution. For the last two years, Mr Mustafa had been detained in the Netherlands after Turkish authorities placed him on a flight to the UK via Amsterdam. Prior to that, he had been detained for extended periods of time by Turkish authorities since 2018, when he left Syria.

Mr Mustafa has always maintained that he was not aligned to any proscribed organisations and had been in Syria to protect innocent men, women and children against the indiscriminate killing machine of the Assad regime and its allied militias.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Mustafa’s lawyer Flip Schüller mentioned that the deportation followed an undisclosed arrangement between Dutch and Turkish authorities that neither he nor his client were privy to. “We are very concerned about why the details are being kept confidential. This is very, very worrying… There are grave concerns about refusal at the border and indirect refoulement by Turkey of my client.”. [2]

Anas Mustapha, Head of Public Advocacy at CAGE said:

“The British Government is primarily responsible for creating an impossible legal scenario for many families and men who have been deprived of their citizenship without recourse to justice. This policy of mediaeval exile must come to an end.”

“Sufyan Mustafa has been imprisoned for the best part of four years, in Turkey and the Netherlands, all entirely without charge. Given the devastation we have witnessed in Syria, we cannot maintain a position of punishing those who have come to their aid. It’s high time Sufyan Mustafa is granted asylum and his ordeal brought to an end.”

A member of Mr Mustafa’s family told CAGE:

“Sufyan has been deported in the midst of a humanitarian crisis happening in Turkey. We are very worried for him. His young boys, aged 2 and 6 have been asking about him and we have no answers to give them.”

“What will be his fate at this point? If he is deported to a third country, he will either be imprisoned and tortured, or potentially targeted by extremist groups like ISIS, or forcibly disappeared and his whereabouts unknown.”

“Turkey and the UK are obliged to take responsibility for Sufyan’s safety. This is a matter that should raise concerns about the safety of Muslims who are made “second class citizens” by the UK government.”



*Image courtesy of TRT World

(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)