30 AUGUST 2019
Reacting to the deportation of six members of a Turkish family, including four who are minors, from Malaysia to Turkey despite real risks of torture and other ill-treatment, Executive Director of Amnesty International Malaysia, Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu said:
“The decision to deport the Komis family, including the couple’s four daughters who are minors at such short notice, is deplorable, especially in light of reports that they are being deported over accusations of Mr. Arif Komis’s membership of a faith-based group. The family is at risk of serious human rights violations or abuses back in their country.”
“In deporting the Komis family, the Malaysian government has violated the international principle of non-refoulement which prohibits the transfer of anyone in any manner whatsoever to a place where they would be at real risk to their safety.”
“The Malaysian authorities must never deport individuals where there is clear evidence of the human rights violations they may face at their destination. The Turkish government must ensure the safety and security of the family, and that they are protected from torture and other forms of ill-treatment. The family should immediately be released, unless there is credible evidence of internationally recognisable criminal acts committed by Mr. Komis. Any proceedings brought against them should likewise comply with international standards on fair trials.”
Based on information from Time International School where Mr. Arif Komis was working as a chemistry teacher, Komis, his wife, and their four daughters were taken from their home in Kuala Lumpur on the evening of 28 August by suspected members of the Malaysian police. A message from one of the daughters sent to friends and relatives indicated they were being held by immigration and scheduled for deportation to Turkey on 29 August.
According to news reports, Komis’s school has been accused of being affiliated with the faith-based Gülen movement, deemed a “terror” group by the Turkish government and accused of masterminding a failed 2016 coup attempt.
Turkish nationals have previously been arbitrarily arrested and detained by Malaysian authorities, and then extradited to Turkey. Later on, the Malaysia authorities confirmed that they were wanted by the Turkish government for suspected involvement with the Gülen movement.
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed said Malaysia will continue to crack down on members of the Gülen movement during a visit to the republic last month.
Since the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, the Turkish government is reported to have pressured its allies around the world to take legal action against suspected supporters of Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom they accuse of masterminding the coup attempt. Amnesty International and other human rights organisations have documented instances of arbitrary detention, unfair trial and torture of detainees suspected of belonging to the Gülen movement.