The three Turkish nationals detained over controversial charges in Malaysia have been deported to Turkey, according to police chief Khalid Abu Bakar.
Malay police detained Turgay Karaman, the headmaster of a Turkish school in the city of Ipoh; businessman İhsan Aslan and academic İsmet Özçelik over their alleged links to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), last week.
Abu Bakar tweeted on Friday that Turgay Karaman, Ihsan Aslan and Ismet Ozcelik had been deported back to Ankara on Thursday night.
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia earlier called on Malay officials to refrain from extradition as the detainees are affiliated with the Gülen movement, which the government has launched a sweeping witch hunt against, accusing the group of being behind the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
Even though Malaysian government underlined that the trio were detained over alleged ISIL links, human rights organizations shared their concerns over the possibility that Malay officials are going after Turkish nationals at Turkey’s request.
Malay officials were also criticised for the way the Turks were detained in the first place. Karaman was forced into a car by unidentified men in plain clothes, at a parking lot in Kuala Lumpur on May 2. Family members were later told that Karaman had been detained.
The school Karaman was working was founded by Gülen followers while İhsan Aslan is a member of the Malaysian-Turkish Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a Gülen-linked business association based in Kuala Lumpur.
Meanwhile, Özcelik is a former board member at Mevlana University which was closed over Gülen links in the aftermath of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
Previously, in October 2016, two other Turkish nationals were detained in Malaysia and were deported the following day. Both men were arrested upon their return to Turkey where they remain under arrest.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan earlier called on foreign governments to punish Gülen followers in their own countries. Only a few countries including Saudi Arabia and Malaysia have complied with the request so far.