Group believes life on Earth was created by clones of extraterrestrials
ANKARA, Turkey – The U.N. refugee agency is considering an asylum request from the Iranian leader of a sect that believes in extraterrestrials.
Negar Azizmoradi has been detained in Turkey for not carrying a valid passport and is being held at a refugee detention center in Istanbul.
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With their libertarian attitude to sex, and their belief that humans were created by extra-terrestrials, Raelians inevitably fall foul of the religious authorities in Iran.
The crime of apostasy – rejecting religious faith – carries the death penalty there, and supporters of Negar Azizmoradi say that is what will happen to her if the Turkish government sends her back to Iran.
She is being detained in Istanbul for not carrying a proper passport when she arrived in Turkey last week.
Turkey does not normally recognise asylum seekers from neighbouring countries – thousands are kept in detention centres, pending possible re-settlement in third countries – most are trying to reach the European Union.
Some, including Iranians, have been forced back over the border.
The Raelian movement is now campaigning to prevent that happening to its one-time leader in Iran.