Cambodia: Confirm whereabouts of forcibly disappeared Turkish-Mexican national

Amnesty International has received reports that a Turkish-Mexican dual national, Osman Karaca, has been forcibly disappeared following his arrest by the Cambodian police on 14 October. Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

Cambodia has a shameful track record of colluding with other governments to return wanted individuals without due process.
Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International Regional Director for East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific

“Cambodia has a shameful track record of colluding with other governments to return wanted individuals without due process. The Cambodian authorities must immediately confirm Osman Karaca’s fate and whereabouts, after he was last seen being taken away in a police vehicle.

“If he is in custody, he must have access to a lawyer and his family, and his safety should be ensured. The authorities must either bring him promptly before a judge or release him immediately.

“If he is forcibly returned to Turkey, he faces a very real risk of ill-treatment and further human rights abuses. Cambodia has an obligation to protect him from persecution, not collude in his abuse.” 

Background

Osman Karaca is the former director of the Zaman International School in Phnom Penh. According to his wife, he was arrested by counter-terrorism police on 14 October 2019 in Phnom Penh in response to a request by the Turkish authorities to the Cambodian government. This arrest occurred in the context of an international campaign of political reprisals against Turkish nationals living abroad by the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Mr. Karaca is a dual citizen of both Turkey and Mexico.

Since Karaca’s arrest, his family members have not been provided any information as to his fate and whereabouts. There are serious concerns regarding his safety and the protection of his human rights.