UPDATE: European Court For Human Rights REJECTS Application To Release Detained Members Of Ahmadi Religious Minority

Image from the Turkey-Bulgaria border checkpoint.

Image from the Turkey-Bulgaria border checkpoint. Credit: The Ahmadi Religion of Peace and Light on YouTube.

UPDATE: Thursday, July 27 at 11:50 pm

The European Court for Human Rights has rejected the application submitted for interim measures against Turkey. It was requesting the release of the people still being held in the Edirne detention centre for no reason, or at least the 22 children and the vulnerable ones.

On 21 July 2023, a letter was received from a duty judge of the European Court of Human Rights informing the group of the court’s decision not to indicate to the Government of Turkey the interim measure requested in respect of the applicants’ administrative detention.

According to the latest press release from the Ahmadi Religion of Peace and Light, no reason was given by the ECHR for this refusal.


UPDATE: Saturday, July 15 at 1:20 am

According to a press release this Friday, July 14, from the Ahmadi Religion of Peace and Light, Turkey is being taken to the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR).

An application has been submitted for interim measures against the Turkish government at the ECHR, with an urgent request to release the detainees who have been held since May 24.

Among those being held in a detention centre are 22 children and vulnerable members. It is hoped that the ECHR can force the Turkish authorities to revoke the deportation orders. Such a process would be legally binding.

A statement citing human rights concerns over the situation in Turkey was published recently by the UN OHCHR, which can be read in full here. The European Parliament also addressed it at an international conference as well on July 6.


UPDATE: Tuesday, June 6 at 8:55 pm

In the latest press release this Tuesday, June 6, from the Ahmadi Religion of Peace and Light, two UK journalists speak out about the alleged torture and physical abuse of its detained members by the Turkish authorities.

There are currently 104 members imprisoned in Turkey and they have now reportedly had their water supply cut off. This is claimed to be part of a bigger scheme aimed at forcing them to sign deportation papers.

Disturbing reports from the two journalists – who were released without any charges  – include beatings, sexual assault, and torture, especially targeting the women and children who are among the detainees.

These two British citizens are said to be prepared to provide firsthand accounts of the illegal actions that have occurred in the Turkish detention centre.

Matin Yousef, a child who is an Iranian national reported being allegedly threatened with physical and sexual violence by Turkish police.

Many NGOs, movements, and influential figures are now reported by the Ahmadi Religion of Peace and Light to be mobilising in support of the detained group.

These include the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Irish MEP Clare Daly, who has openly criticised the EU’s policies.

An appeal has also been made to Ursula von der Leyen, the EU Commissioner by the human rights coordinator Hadil El-Khouly, along with a petition.


UPDATE: Thursday, June 1 at 8:10 pm

According to the latest press release from the Ahmadi Religion of Peace and Light, 30 of its 104 members have been beaten, tortured and abused by the Turkish authorities in the Edirne deportation centre where they are being held.

First-hand video testimonies, voice recordings, and photographs from the detained members provided by the organisation detailed the torture and abuse they have been subjected to at the hands of the Turkish authorities.

30 of the detained members, including 10 women and 2 children, reported that they remained severely injured. Some have allegedly requested hospital visits, which were not granted.

One of the members, Redouane Foufa, from Algeria, reported being beaten while in detention and claimed he was injected with an unknown substance.

In a voice recording, he spoke of how the women and children were subjected to torture methods. He claimed that they were deprived of food and water for three days and made to stand in the sun and deprived of sleep.

Hassan Oyandi, a member of the religion from Turkey, described in a video testimony uploaded to the organisation’s YouTube channel being heavily beaten. He produced photographs showing visible bruises and swellings on parts of his body.

Two UK amateur journalists – Sermad Al-Khafaji and Alexandra Foreman – who had accompanied the group were also taken into custody. They were both accused of being British agents.

Mrs Foreman described being held in very bad conditions. She mentioned some members being forced to sign documents they did not understand and she was forced to witness a group being beaten in front of her.

Sermad Al-Khafaji reported in another video testimony on YouTube being very badly treated and severely beaten.

This is a clear violation of the Turkish Criminal Procedure Code Article 148 which states that:
“any bodily or mental intervention such as misconduct, torture and administering medicines, exhausting falsification, physical coercion or threatening to use certain equipment, is forbidden”, insisted the organisation.


UPDATE: Tuesday, May 30 at 8:23 pm

The 104 members of the Ahmadi Religion of Peace and Light being held at the Edirne public safety office in Turkey have now been issued deportation decisions by the Turkish authorities.

As a result, they face deportation within six days. This a decision that will most likely subject them to either imprisonment or even death sentences in their countries of origin when they returned.

However, there is still a chance to turn this alarming humanitarian situation around. A petition has been raised to the EU Commission to grant these peaceful families asylum in the EU.

A press release from the Ahmadi Religion of Peace reported this Tuesday, May 30, that the Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF) organisation is also calling upon the UN, EU and OSCE for Turkey to stop the deportation measures.


Saturday, May 27 at 8:23 pm

A serious humanitarian situation has developed at the Turkish-Bulgarian border in the last few days according to a statement released this Friday, May 26, by the Ahmadi Religion of Peace and Light.

It revealed that more than 100 members of The Ahmadi Religion of Peace and Light, a persecuted religious minority, presented themselves at the border claiming asylum on Wednesday, May 24.

They are now reportedly being held at the Edirne public safety office – in a city situated 7 km from the Greek and 20 km from the Bulgarian borders – and face deportation within the next 7-10 days.

When a decision is finally made, it is one that will most likely subject them to either imprisonment or death sentences in their countries of origin.

The Ahmadi group was refused entry, violently beaten, pushed back, and detained by the Turkish border police on Wednesday. Gunshots were fired over their heads, they were threatened, and their belongings thrown away.

Among the group of 104 individuals are families, women, children and elderly people. They have been subjected to extreme and systematic forms of religious persecution all across Muslim-majority countries because of their faith.

The reason why they face these persecutions is because they follow a man named Aba Al-Sadiq whom they consider
to be the awaited Mahdi. They follow his controversial message which includes the establishment of a new Covenant after Islam.

Live footage of the incident at the border was uploaded onto the group’s YouTube channel, which can be viewed by clicking HERE.

Some of the controversial teachings of this Covenant state that the wearing of the headscarf is not an obligation, the fasting of the month of Ramadan falls in December of each year, the five daily prayers are abrogated and the consumption of alcoholic beverages is permissible.

Due to these beliefs, they were considered ‘heretics’ and ‘infidels’ which posed a significant threat to their lives. They had previously been beaten, imprisoned, kidnapped, humiliated and terrorised in countries like Iran, Iraq, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Azerbaijan and Thailand.

They had gathered in Turkey and were on their way to the Turkish-Bulgarian border to assume their human right to request asylum directly from the Bulgarian Border Police.

That would be in line with Article 58(4) of the Law on Asylum and Refugees (LAR), which states that asylum can be applied for with a verbal statement submitted in front of the border police.

Additionally, an open letter by the European Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN) was sent on Tuesday, May 23, with 28 human rights organisations and bodies signing their endorsement.

Together, they urged for the protection of the group and that their right to claim asylum at the border be upheld, in accordance with international law.

After being held at the Edirne public safety office for more than 24 hours, 83 members of the group were transferred to a deportation centre, the remaining 20 will likely follow.

It is expected that deportation decisions be issued within 36 hours. In Iran, members of the Ahmadi Religion of Peace and Light were detained in Evin prison on December 2022 because of their beliefs.

They were threatened with execution if they refused to sign papers to recant their faith and defame the religion. Similarly, members in Iraq suffered gun attacks on their homes by armed militias, and scholars called for them to be killed.

Issuing deportation decisions for these families would be a clear violation on Turkey’s behalf of the core principle of nonrefoulement.

According to international refugee and human rights law, it prohibits returning individuals to a country where they would face torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and other irreparable harm.

Representatives of the Ahmadi Religion of Peace and Light have implored Turkey not to proceed with the deportation of these families to their countries of origin.

These families would be put in danger in their countries of origin and Turkey would be responsible for any loss of life if they are returned to the countries they have escaped from.

Human Rights Without Frontiers published an article about the situation on May 25, as did the EU Reporter one day earlier. It was also reported today, Saturday 27, by the European Times, and Global Voices.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com