Moldova: Seven people deported to Turkey despite major human rights concerns

The Moldovan authorities ignored their international human rights obligations when they detained and deported seven Turkish nationals reportedly seeking asylum in Moldova this morning, said Amnesty International.

The news follows today’s police raid on the Turkish high school ‘Orizont’ in Chișinău’s Durleşti neighbourhood.

“We are deeply concerned about the fate of the seven detained Turkish nationals. The Moldovan authorities should have ensured their protection from forcible return to Turkey, but chose to do the opposite and instantly deport them. The Moldovan authorities didn’t just violate these individuals’ rights once by deporting them – they put them on a fast-track to further human rights violations such as an unfair trial,” said Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

The Moldovan authorities didn’t just violate these individuals’ rights once by deporting them – they put them on a fast-track to further human rights violations such as an unfair trial.
Marie Struthers, Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International

According to photo and video materials of the detention, presented to Amnesty International by the lawyers of the detainees, the detainees weren’t informed of their rights at the time of detention, nor about the charges laid against them.

The seven detainees were apprehended with excessive force and intimidation.

“The latest arrests in Moldova follow the pattern of political reprisals against Turkish nationals living abroad by the increasingly repressive government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. In March this year, six Turkish nationals, also school employees, were abducted and unlawfully returned to Turkey without the knowledge of the country’s highest authorities and without the ability to challenge what happened to them,” said Marie Struthers.

The latest arrests in Moldova follow the pattern of political reprisals against Turkish nationals living abroad by the increasingly repressive government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Marie Struthers, Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International

Amnesty International Moldova was informed that the detained ‘Orizont’ staff members had previously requested asylum in Moldova, claiming they would face persecution in their homeland.

“Forcible return of those seeking protection in Moldova is a flagrant violation of Moldova’s international human rights obligations. The state authorities must immediately hold to account those responsible for the arbitrary detention and expulsion of the Turkish nationals.”

Background

On 6 September, officers of the Moldovan SIS (Intelligence and Security Service) detained in different locations a number of Turkish nationals connected to the Turkish high school ‘Orizont’ in Chișinău’s Durleşti neighbourhood, including its director Rıza Doğan and other staff members.

Amnesty International has received information indicating there may be further deportations of Turkish nationals to Turkey in the coming hours.