Bulgaria's Handover of Gulenist to Turkey 'Unlawful' - Amnesty

Society | January 18, 2017, Wednesday // 14:56|  views

File photo, BGNES

The move to expel Gülen supporter Abdullah Buyuk to Turkey "bears all the hallmarks of an unlawful rendition to risk of torture", human rights organization Amnesty International says in a report.

In one of the sections dedicated to Bulgaria, AI recalls the story of Buyuk, who was handed over to Turkey in August of last year.

He was sought by Ankara on charges of money-laundering and affiliation to the movement of US-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, which Turkey deems a terrorist organization and blames for the failed coup attempt in July.

"Almost immediately, Abdullah Büyük was secretly handed over to the Turkish authorities and transferred to Turkey, apparently without further process, including the opportunity to consult legal counsel or his family, or otherwise initiate an appeal against the transfer," AI says.

"Before these events, courts had twice [the first time was in March] ruled against Abdullah Büyük’s extradition because, in the absence of any relevant evidence from the Turkish government, the charges appeared to be politically motivated, and Turkey could not guarantee him a fair trial."

Büyük, who had lived in Bulgaria for months, had earlier applied for political asylum. The request was turned down in the days before his extradition was demanded for another time early in August.

"On 12 August, Bulgaria’s National Ombudsman stated that the return had contravened the Constitution, domestic law and the country’s international legal obligations."

Other highlights about Bulgaria include the adoption of a counter-terrorism bill on first reading that, Amnesty says, "failed to provide key safeguards that would make this a reality."

Elaborating on parts of the text, AI says it strongly implies "that Bulgaria could dispense with other human rights in a state of emergency, possibly including rights that are non-derogable in all circumstances."

"Against a backdrop of high levels of racism and intolerance towards marginalized groups in Bulgaria, including migrants, refugees, Roma, Muslims and people perceived to be members of these groups, it is self-evident that the vague and overly broad definitions of “terrorism” and “terrorist acts” could be used to arbitrarily target for monitoring, surveillance, investigation, and prosecution individuals from such marginalized groups against whom the state has neither credible nor sufficient evidence of criminality."

The report is available here.

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Tags: Abdullah Buyuk, turkey, Amnesty International


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