Committee of Human Rights Reporters – Hossein Salmanzadeh, refugee in police custody in Turkey, has launched a hunger strike in protest of his request for political asylum being ignored. Salmanzadeh who has been in custody at the Turkey police detention center since April 25th is on his 4th day of hunger strike.
Hossein Salmanzadeh is a former photographer from Fars news agency who left the country due to his lack of safety after he published photographs of the mass unrest following the contested 2009 presidential election results. He went to Turkey along with other photographers and presented himself at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Eleven months later the UNHCR relocated Salmanzadeh to the United States as a refugee but due to constraints on gaining employment and very difficult living conditions, he was compelled to go back to Turkey after a few months. Upon his return to Turkey he once again presented himself at the UNHCR headquarters and requested asylum to a European country where he could make a living and survive. The UNHCR approved his request after one month but as of April 5th, no country has agreed to grant him asylum.
Hossein Salmanzadeh is an award winning photojournalist who worked for various weeklies – Iran Varzeshi, Iran Jomeh, Ham Vatan Salam, Hamshahri – along with Miras Farhangi and Fars news agencies. In 2006 Salmanzadeh was the recipient of the Kaveh Golestan Photography award for his “Murder in Southern Dibaji” photographic series.