TURKEY 1962 - 1991
Ibrahim Parlak was born to a Kurdish family in southeastern Turkey. As a youth, he was active in the Kurdish human rights movement in Turkey and Europe. On returning to Turkey after some years abroad he was arrested, tortured, charged with the crime of separatism and sentenced to death. He was eventually released from prison for medical reasons, and came to the U.S. seeking asylum.
US 1991 - 2004
Once granted asylum in 1992, Ibrahim worked his way from busboy to restaurant owner, settling in the small town of Harbert, MI, where he became a father to an American citizen daughter and a friend to many.
2004 - 2018
Ibrahim’s asylum was revoked when he applied for citizenship in the early 2000s, citing a supposed link with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. He was arrested without cause on July 29, 2004* and detained for ten months at the Calhoun County Jail in Battle Creek, MI. His case was heard in the immigration court and in 2005, Judge Avern Cohn ordered his release on a writ of habeas corpus. The case proceeded up to the 6th District Court, where he was found deportable. Since 2005, Ibrahim has been protected from deportation by the introduction of a Private Bill by Michigan Senator Carl Levin and Representative Fred Upton at the beginning of each new Congress. Since Sen. Levin’s retirement in January 2015, no other senator has been willing to introduce legislation on Ibrahim’s behalf.
Immigration Judge Kathryn L. Deangelis has granted Ibrahim's application deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture, citing evidence that he would more likely than not be tortured by the Turkish government if he were to be removed to their jurisdiction. For all updates on his case, please visit the Friends of Ibrahim Facebook Group.
Read testimonials from Ibrahim's supporters here.
*For more information on Ibrahim's previous case, visit the Free Ibrahim Archive.
Ibrahim with daughter Livia, circa 2000.