Georgia rejects asylum application of Gülen school teacher

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Mustafa Emre Çabuk

Georgian authorities have rejected an asylum application made by Turkish teacher Mustafa Emre Çabuk, who has been under a three-month extradition arrest since May 25, the T24 news website reported on Saturday.

“The asylum application made by Mustafa Çabuk and his family was rejected. There is no reason for such a decision. The application should have been accepted,” said Çabuk’s lawyer.

The lawyer plans to appeal the decision at the Tiblisi Municipal Court.

Çabuk, a teacher at a secondary school established by Gülen movement followers in Georgia, was detained by police upon a request by the Turkish government. A Georgian court placed Çabuk under a three-month extradition arrest on May 25.

On May 31, eight nongovernmental organizations called on the Georgian government to refrain from returning the detained Turkish teacher to Turkey where “he will be possibly subjected to political persecution, torture and inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.”

“[He] will have no access to a fair trial,” said a statement released by the Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC), Transparency International Georgia (TI), The Tolerance and Diversity Institute (TDI), Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA), Georgian Democratic Initiative (GDI), Human Rights House Tbilisi (HRHT), International Society of Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) and the Media Development Fund (MDF).

A military coup attempt on July 15 killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ said on Friday that since the failed coup attempt last July, 50,504 people have been arrested and 168,801 are the subject of legal proceedings for their alleged involvement in the organization of the coup.

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