UN Human Rights Office concerned by arrests of three Turkish nationals in Malaysia on security related charges


BANGKOK (5 May 2017) - The UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia on Friday expressed serious concern about the arrests in Malaysia of three Turkish nationals on security related charges, and urges the Malaysian Government to refrain from deporting them to Turkey.

"There are concerns that these men may have been targeted over their suspected links to the Gülen movement which is accused of being behind a coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016," said Laurent Meillan, acting regional representative of the UN Human Rights Office in Bangkok.

Mr. Turgay Karaman, the principal of an international school in Ipoh, and Mr. Ihsan Aslan, a businessman, were detained by unidentified individuals in Kuala Lumpur on 2 May 2017. The Inspector-General of Police reportedly said that the two men were being held for activities that threaten the safety of Malaysia. The Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs Mr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that the men were being investigated under Malaysia’s Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA) for alleged activities related to Islamic State (IS). Provisions under SOSMA permit authorities to detain individuals for up to 28 days before being brought to Court.

On 4 May 2017, Mr. Ismet Ozcelik - a university director also residing in Malaysia - was arrested on the same charges.

Previously, in October 2016, two other Turkish nationals were detained in Malaysia and were deported the following day. Both men were arrested upon their return to Turkey where they remain in detention without trial. "We are very concerned that the three men arrested this week may face the same fate as the other two individuals deported to Turkey last year," said Meillan.

“We call on the Malaysian Government to ensure that the three men are given a fair trial in Malaysia and urge authorities not to extradite them as we have serious concerns regarding their safety if they are deported to Turkey.”

ENDS

For more information and media requests, please contact: In Bangkok: Jeremy J Laurence (+66 2 288 2627 / Mob: +66 84 700 4671 / laurencej@un.org)

For your news websites and social media: Key messages about our news releases are available on UN Human Rights social media channels, listed below. Please tag us using the proper handles

  • Twitter: OHCHRAsia
  • Facebook: UNHumanRightsAsia
  • Google+: unitednationshumanrights
  • Youtube: unohchr

  • The Regional Office for South-East Asia in Bangkok represents the High Commissioner for Human Rights within South East Asia. The High Commissioner for Human Rights is the principal human rights official of the United Nations and heads the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, which spearheads the United Nations' human rights efforts.