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Human Rights Watch calls for investigation into disappearance of Orhan Inandi

Kyrgyz authorities should investigate the disappearance of Orhan Inandi, founder of a network of education institutions in Kyrgyzstan, amid concern that he may be forcibly deported to Turkey. The international human rights organization Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

The organization notes that Orhan Inandi is likely to be persecuted for his alleged ties to the movement Fethullah Gülen, which the Turkish government deems a terrorist organization responsible for the 2016 attempted military coup in Turkey. If returned to Turkey, Inandi could be at risk of mistreatment or torture and would face arbitrary detention and an unfair trial.

«Orhan Inandi is a Kyrgyz citizen,» said Syinat Sultanalieva, Central Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch. «The Kyrgyz government has a responsibility to investigate his disappearance, determine where he is being held, and ensure his safety and that he is not unlawfully removed to Turkey.»

The Turkish government in 2019 accused Inandi of links with the Gülen movement. He has been missing since May 31, 2021. His wife Reyhan Inandi said on June 6 that she has evidence that he is being held in the Turkish embassy in Bishkek.

An investigative-operational group has been formed. The President Sadyr Japarov also instructed the State Committee for National Security and the Ministry of Internal Affairs to step up investigative and operational measures to find the citizen of Kyrgyzstan.

A criminal case was initiated under the article «Abduction of a person» on the fact of disappearance of the former head of Sapat school network Orhan Inandi.

Supporters of the missing Orhan Inandi have been protesting since June 1. The rallies, they said, will continue until Orhan Inanda is found. Participants of the rallies believe that the president of Sapat international educational institution was kidnapped and the special services of Turkey are involved in the abduction.

As the human rights defenders stress, over the past five years, scores of men alleged by the Turkish authorities to have links with the Gülen movement, living in countries around the world, have been arbitrarily detained and forcibly returned to Turkey. There they are incarcerated on bogus terrorism charges in violation of due process rights and protections.

Allowing Inandi’s rendition to Turkey would violate Kyrgyzstan’s obligations under the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which it ratified in 1997.

Article 3 of the convention includes an absolute prohibition on extraditing or returning anyone to a place where they risk being tortured. His forcible return could also set a worrying precedent in Kyrgyzstan.

«Kyrgyzstan aspires to uphold international human rights standards, and this is a clear instance in which it is essential,» Syinat Sultanalieva said. «If the Kyrgyz authorities do not retrieve Inandi from wherever he is being held against his will, they will fail to meet their obligations to ensure his safety as required under international law and the Kyrgyz Constitution.»