Turkey must release two men detained over suspected links to a cleric blamed for a 2016 coup attempt and pay them compensation for arbitrary detention, a UN body said on Wednesday, Reuters reported.
Academic İsmet Özçelik and school principal Turgay Karaman were deported in 2017 from Malaysia to Turkey, where they were accused of ties to the network of Fethullah Gülen.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government has jailed more than 77,000 people pending trial since the 2016 coup attempt, and widespread arrests are still routine in a crackdown critics say demonstrates growing autocracy in Turkey.
Saying it had violated the two Turkish men’s freedoms, the UN Human Rights Committee gave Turkish authorities 180 days to comply with its ruling. But it lacks any enforcement authority.
“The State party is obligated … to release the authors (of the complaint) and provide them with adequate compensation for the violations suffered,” the committee’s report on the case said, noting that Turkey’s membership of an international rights covenant required it to act and provide “effective remedy.”
Turkey had sought an exemption due to its state of emergency and the “serious and complex” nature of the pair’s alleged crimes, but the committee rejected that, saying it failed to explain how they posed a threat.
SCF previously documented many cases of harassment, abuse, torture unlawful detention and extraordinary rendition in Malaysia in a report, mostly from victim interviews, warning that the Malaysian government would be held accountable for enabling Erdoğan’s crimes against humanity in the future.
Since the failed coup attempt three years ago, Turkish authorities have demanded the extradition of various people suspected of links to Gülen’s network. While some countries, including Kosovo and Pakistan as well as Malaysia, have complied, many have refused. (SCF with turkishminute.com)