Detention, abduction of Turkish nationals from Malaysia unlawful - UN

The UN Human Rights Council has said that the detention and abduction from Malaysia of three Turkish nationals accused of terror links by Ankara is arbitrary, adding that Turkey breached their right to security and freedom and right to a fair trial.

İsmet Özçelik, Turgay Karaman and Ihsan Aslan, accused by Ankara of membership in the Gülen religious movement, were removed from Malaysia to Turkey on May 12, 2017, after the three were arrested and detained in Malaysia, the UN report said.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of orchestrating the July 2016 coup attempt and designates the group a terrorist organisation. The movement has denied any involvement in the coup attempt.

The UN called for the immediate release of the men and gave Turkish authorities 180 days to comply with the decision. It also ordered a payment of compensation for their arbitrary arrest. Turkish officials have yet to respond to the ruling.

Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific in 2017 criticized Malaysia’s extradition of three Turkish nationals to Turkey, stating that the “extradition puts three Turkish men at risk of torture.”

The government of Turkey, which is the only country that lists the Gülen movement as a terrorist organisation, has detained some 50,000 people and dismissed more than 130,000 public servants for suspected connections to the movement. Turkish authorities have also tracked down and returned to Turkey dozens of suspected Gülen members around the world.