ECtHR to accelerate cases of 5 Turks abducted from Azerbaijan by Turkish intelligence

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This photo shows an exterior view of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg on January 24, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / FREDERICK FLORIN

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has decided to hear the case of five Turkish citizens abducted last year in Azerbaijan in an accelerated procedure, the MedyaBold news website reported.

İsa Özdemir, Mehmet Çelik, Ayhan Seferoğlu, Faik Semih Başoğlu and Erdoğan Taylan, despite enjoying legal residence in Azerbaijan, were abducted and delivered to Turkey, allegedly by the Turkish intelligence while Azerbaijani officials looked the other way.

They were detained and arrested by Turkey over their alleged links to the Gülen movement and they remain behind bars.

Their case was taken to the ECtHR, which after examination has decided to hear the case in an accelerated procedure and directed on Feb. 6 a series of questions to Azerbaijan for its defense.

“Did/would the applicants’ forcible removal to Turkey expose them to a real risk of treatment contrary to Article 3 of the Convention,” the questionnaire asked, referring to the torture and ill-treatment to which the abductees were reportedly subjected in Turkey during questioning by Turkish intelligence before being officially detained.

“Were the applicants deprived of their liberty in breach of Article 5 § 1 (f) of the Convention?” and “Did the applicants have at their disposal an effective procedure by which they could challenge the unlawfulness of their detention pending removal, as required by Article 5 § 4 of the Convention?” the ECtHR also asked.

The decision appeared on the court’s website on Feb. 25.

Azerbaijan has six months to submit its statement.

Turkey blames a 2016 failed coup attempt on the Gülen movement. The movement denies having any role in it.

A few days ago, Turkey’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Yavuz Selim Kıran acknowledged that Turkey has so far abducted over 100 alleged Gülen sympathizers from abroad.

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