Amnesty Urgent Action in Case of Three Turkish Nationals Detained in Malaysia [Updated with new information and steps to take]

Amnesty International has issued an Urgent Action in the case of three Turkish nationals arrested and detained in Malaysia.  There are concerns about their safety if they are extradited to Turkey.  Human Rights Watch has also voiced concerns about this case.

Malaysia’s Inspector General of Police confirmed that three Turkish nationals, school principal Turgay Karaman, academic Ismet Ozcelik,and businessman Ihsan Aslan, had been arrested and detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (SOSMA). They are being investigated under Section 130J of the Penal Code (read together with SOSMA) for allegedly soliciting, giving support to terrorist groups or for the commission of terrorist acts.


Khalid Abu Bakar, Malaysia’s Inspector General of Police, Reuters, 2017

Concerns were raised for Turgay Karaman on 2 May after he failed to attend a meeting. According to his lawyer, a CCTV footage emerged online of Turgay Karaman being surrounded by unidentified men in plainclothes in a car park in Kuala Lumpur, and being driven away in an unmarked vehicle. The same night, another one of his friends, Ihsan Aslan, was reported missing by his wife. On 4 May, according to their lawyer, Ismet Ozcelik was in his car with friends, when they were stopped by five cars and swarmed by 20 people who seized their phones and abducted Ismet Ozcelik in their car. The Home Minister later stated that they were being investigated for connections to the armed group calling themselves the Islamic State. The three men have not been given access to lawyers or their families, and are therefore detained incommunicado, in violation of international human rights law. There are also concerns that they could be at risk of torture or other ill-treatment, unfair trial or other serious human right violations, should they be returned to Turkey, following the opaque conditions of their apprehension. The men are currently being held in the police headquarters at Bukit Aman in Kuala Lumpur.

In 2016, the Turkish government is reported to have pressured its allies to take legal action against suspected supporters of Fethullah Gülen, whom Turkish authorities accuse of masterminding a coup attempt against them. Fethullah Gülen denies the accusations. There is credible evidence of arbitrary detention and torture of detainees suspected of belonging to the Gülen movement, which Amnesty International and other human rights organisations have documented. If the three men are suspected to be linked to the Gülen movement, Amnesty International fears the two men will be at risk of being extradited to Turkey where they would risk similar ill-treatment.

Three Turkish men who had been arbitrarily arrested and detained in Malaysia between 2 and 4 May under anti-terrorism legislation were extradited to Turkey on 11 May. They are currently detained in Turkey and are at risk of further human rights violations, including torture and other ill-treatment.

Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:

  • Urging the Turkish authorities to ensure that the three men are protected from torture and other ill-treatment;
  • Urging them to release them, unless there is evidence of internationally recognisable criminal acts and that any proceedings brought against them comply with international fair trial standards.

Contact these two officials by 26 June, 2017:

Minister of the Interior
Mr Süleyman Soylu
İçişleri Bakanlığı
Ankara, Turkey
Fax: +90 312 418 1795
Salutation: Dear Minister

Ambassador Serdar Kiliç, Embassy of the Republic of Turkey
2525 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington DC 20008
Phone: 1 202 612 6700 or 1 202 612 6701
Fax: 1 202 612 6744
Twitter: @TurkishEmbassy
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

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