Malaysia deports 3 Turks believed to be in militant group

Malaysia has deported three Turks to Ankara over their suspected involvement in a group linked to a USA -based cleric blamed by the Turkish government for an attempted coup previous year, police said on Friday.

Human Rights Watch slammed the decision, saying the men face possible torture and prolonged pre-trial detention.

Khalid said the men's travel documents had been cancelled by Ankara and so they were regarded as illegal immigrants in Malaysia.

Turgay was the principal of an worldwide school in Ipoh, Perak while Ismet and Ihsan are an academic and businessman, respectively.

On May 4, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the first two Turkish citizens who were arrested by police on May 2 were alleged to have been involved in activities and correspondence related to Daesh (Islamic State) terrorist group.

The U.N. Human Rights Office in Southeast Asia (OHCHR) said in a statement it had serious concerns regarding the safety of the men upon their return to Turkey and that other Turks in Malaysia could be targeted for alleged links to Gulen.

He also questioned Malaysia's decision to deport Ozcelik, who he said had documents from the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR recognising him as an asylum seeker.

Ankara has blamed the network of the cleric Fethullah Gulen for the failed coup.

Karaman and Ozcelik, two of the men deported, were also listed as persons of concern by the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR, their families said in a statement.

He was already under the jurisdiction of the Malaysian court system over an unrelated charge of obstructing a public officer, having left Turkey after being fired from his university following July's coup.

The principal was detained by plainclothes officers in an underground auto park the day before the case was due to start, being bundled into a vehicle as he made his way to attend a legal meeting.

Meanwhile in Turkey, there was fresh alarm over the arrest of Oguz Guven, the editor of pro-secular Cumhuriyet newspaper's online edition.

Turkish authorities have arrested 49,000 people in relation to the failed coup out of 150,000 investigated.

  • Leroy Wright