PETALING JAYA: The three Turkish nationals arrested in Malaysia have been deported, despite calls from their families and NGOs not to do so.
Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar confirmed in a tweet this morning that Turgay Karaman, Ismet Ozcelik and Ihsan Aslan had been deported to Ankara, Turkey.
He did not offer details.
Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the three men would be deported to Turkey despite pleas from their families not to do so.
Zahid had said Malaysia would not entertain the families’ appeals as the matter was not Putrajaya’s responsibility.
Karaman, Ozcelik and Aslan were detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) last week.
Meanwhile, Lawyers for Liberty joined the chorus condemning the deportation of the three Turkish nationals, saying it was against international customary law.
The organisation’s executive director, Eric Paulsen, pointed out the fear of rights groups and relatives that the deportation would be part of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ongoing crackdown on the Fetullah Gulen movement.
Erdogan has accused the movement of being behind the attempted coup in Turkey last year.
Paulsen said the three might face persecution “similar to the thousands of others accused to be involved in the coup and subjected to sham trials, and risk being tortured and even killed while under detention”.
He added:”Any deportation will contravene international customary law that absolutely prohibits refoulement (deportation) of a person to a country where he will face further persecution.”
Zahid, who is also home minister, had said the arrests were made after police obtained information from the Regional Digital Counter-Messaging Communications Centre (CMC), an Asean effort to stem the spread of propaganda by militant groups in cyberspace.
He added that the police had made some findings based on the trio’s communications that led authorities to suspect they posed a threat to national security.
However, Paulsen said the men had not committed any genuine crimes in Malaysia.
“If the men are accused of committing any local offences, they should be tried in the Malaysian courts. The Malaysian government must not sacrifice these men in the name of diplomatic expediency,” he said.