A group of nine civil society organizations, including the Transparency International and the Georgian Young Lawyers Association, slammed the government’s decision not to grant the refugee status to Mustafa Emre Çabuk, one of the managers of Private Demirel College in Tbilisi, as an “unlawful, unjustified and politically motivated” step.
“We consider that the decision is clearly unjustified, arbitrary and represents an unprincipled expression of loyalty towards Turkey’s undemocratic regime,” reads a joint statement released on July 10, three days after the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees announced the decision to deny refugee status to Çabuk and his family members.
The civil society organizations called on the Refugee Ministry to avoid the “politicization” of the case, adding that the statement of the Ministry that Tbilisi received diplomatic guarantees on the protection of Çabuk’s rights in Turkey, “creates reasonable doubts” that the Government of Georgia plans to extradite him to Turkey, which would represent “gross violation and full disregard of fundamental rights.”
The CSOs added that despite Turkey’s extradition requests of several dozen Gülen associates, European countries have refused to hand them over to the Turkish side.
“We call on the Ministry of Justice and the Government of Georgia not to allow Çabuk’s extradition to Turkey, since this decision will violate the fundamental rights and will cast doubt on the level of democracy in the country,” the joint statement reads.
The CSOs called on the court to consider the case with full observance of human rights standards, as well as on the legislature “to ensure efficient parliamentary oversight” over the case.
Speaking at a press conference on July 10, Mustafa Emre Çabuk’s lawyer, Soso Baratashvili also condemned the Ministry’s decision as “unlawful” and called on the President of Georgia, the Public Defender, the U.S. Department of State and European institutions to demonstrate their interest towards the case and not to allow his extradition to Turkey.
Baratashvili also said that Çabuk’s extradition to Turkey might be followed by torture and ill-treatment against him and his family members.
Mustafa Emre Çabuk was detained on May 24 at the request of Turkish authorities allegedly for having links to Fethullah Gülen-associated FETÖ - an organization designated as terrorist by Turkey. Çabuk, who denies the accusations, was sent to three-month pre-extradition detention by the Tbilisi City Court on May 25.