Amnesty and HRW say Malaysia’s extradition puts three Turkish men at risk of torture

International human rights organizations Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have revealed statements over the extradition of three Turkish nationals allegedly affiliated with Gülen movement and said that “Malaysia’s extradition puts three Turkish men at risk of torture.”

Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, has criticized Malaysia’s  extradition of three Turkish nationals to Turkey and stated that “extradition puts three Turkish men at risk of torture.”

Responding to the extradition of three Turkish men suspected of links to Turkey’s Gülen movement, who had been arbitrarily detained under SOSMA, Malaysia’s draconian security law, Benedict, said: “By sending these three men suspected of links to Fethullah Gülen back to Turkey, the Malaysian authorities have put their liberty and well-being at risk. They have already suffered a harrowing ordeal, being arbitrarily detained and held incommunicado. Now, they have been extradited to Turkey, where they could face arbitrary detention, unfair trial and a real risk of torture.”

Meanwhile, Phil Robertson, Deputy Asia Director of Human Rights Watch, has also reacted to Malaysia’s deportation of İsmet Özcelik, İhsan Arslan, and Turgay Karaman. “The Malaysian government’s duplicity and crass abuse of the rights of these three men really sets this case apart. It’s like Malaysia just hung a signboard around its neck that reads ‘handmaiden of Turkey’s repression,’” said Robertson.

Robertson continued his statement as follow: “Done in the middle of the night, with no notification to their families, Malaysia sent these three men to face a possible risk of torture and prolonged pre-trial detention, followed by a court trial that will likely fail to meet fair trial standards. The refoulement of İsmet Özçelik, who had person of concern status with the UNHCR, is a clear violation of international human rights law.

“What makes this even more of a black mark on Malaysia’s already spotty right record is the fact that senior government officials, including the Deputy Prime Minister and the IGP, repeatedly denied Turkey’s involvement, and used apparently false claims of IS links or ‘local terrorism’ to justify their detention under the rights abusing SOSMA law. This shows again why SOSMA is such a danger to judicial due process and basic human rights of Malaysians and foreigners alike, and why it needs to be revoked immediately.

“And when is Prime Minister Najib going to stop ducking this unfortunate situation, and actually explain to the public what he was doing in the numerous photos that have turned up, showing him meeting with two of these poor men, whose lives have now been ruined because their government half a world away decided they were enemies and told Malaysia to round them up?”

Turgay Karaman, İsmet Özçelik and İhsan Arslan had been arrested and detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (SOSMA). The Malaysian authorities said they were being investigated under Section 130J of the Penal Code (read together with SOSMA) for allegedly soliciting, giving support to terrorist groups or for the commission of terrorist acts.

In 2016, the Turkish government is reported to have pressured its allies to take legal action against suspected supporters of Fethullah Gülen, whom Turkish authorities accuse of masterminding a coup attempt against them. Fethullah Gülen denies the accusations. There is credible evidence of arbitrary detention and torture of detainees suspected of belonging to the Gülen movement, which Amnesty International and other human rights organizations have documented.

May 12, 2017

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