Human Rights Watch, a New York-based advocacy group, has called on the Malaysian government to ensure that “under no circumstance” should two Turkish men arrested in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday be extradited to Turkey, where they could face torture and an unfair trial.
“There is little doubt that if they are returned to Turkey, they will face torture in detention, and if charged with crimes there, be subjected to a trial that will fall far short of fair trial standards,” HRW’s deputy Asia director, Phil Robertson, said in a statement, according to a Wednesday report in The Guardian.
Turgay Karaman, the principal of the Gülen movement-affiliated Time International School in Ipoh, Malaysia, and Turkish businessman İhsan Aslan were abducted by unidentified persons in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.
According to a missing persons report submitted by Karaman’s lawyer to the Kuala Lumpur police on Tuesday, Karaman was abducted by five men while he was going to his car in the parking of his apartment.
After Karaman failed to attend a meeting with the friend and a lawyer, the two went to his apartment as they were worried he might have been abducted since two other Turks who were sympathizers of the Gülen movement, which Turkish authorities accuse of being behind a failed coup last summer, were abducted by Turkish intelligence in Malaysia after the putsch.
Upon checking CCTV footage of the parking where his car was left, Karaman’s friends found that he was forced into a car by five unidentified men and taken to an unknown place.
A tweet from Khalid Abu Bakar, the inspector general of Malaysia’s police, said that Karaman and Aslan were “caught for activities that threaten the safety of Malaysia” under a section of the penal code that covers terrorism and organized crime.
In October of last year, two Turkish citizens were extradited by Malaysian authorities upon a request from their Turkish counterparts as part of the latter’s clampdown against the movement after they were abducted by Turkish intelligence officers in Malaysia.
The Turkish Embassy is reported to have asked Malaysian authorities to close down Gülen-linked schools in the Asian country as in many other countries in late September. The Turkish ambassador reportedly asked authorities to take legal action against sympathizers of the Gülen movement as well.
Turkish government accuses the movement of masterminding the July 15 coup attempt, although the movement denies any involvement.
The movement is known for its education and aid activities in over 170 countries, but Turkish Foreign Ministry bureaucrats have been trying to expand domestic pressure to overseas subsidiaries of the movement in the recent past.