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Ahmadi Religion Files Lawsuit against Türkiye at European Court of Human Rights following violent pushback at Turkey border

One hundred and one members of the Ahmadi Religion of Peace, detained in the Republic of Türkiye, lodge a collective interim measure request at the European Court of Human Rights as a reaction to the ongoing and severe violations of their rights.

On 11 July 2023, with the support of the pro bono project “Rule 39 Initiative” (CILD), 101
members of the Ahmadi Religion of Peace and Lights lodged a request for interim measures
against the Republic of Türkiye before the European Court for Human Rights.

Since 24 May 2023, the group (which includes 22 minors, several elderly individuals, and at
least 27 people suffering from serious medical conditions) has been exposed in the Republic
of Türkiye to severe and repeated violations of the rights protected by Article 3 of the
European Convention of Human Rights (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading
treatment).

Notably, the group (composed of asylum-seekers who fled religiously motivated persecution
in their home countries) has been subject to numerous accounts of physical and other
violence at the hands of the Turkish authorities, during and after their attempt to peacefully
approach the Bulgarian border in order to apply for asylum there.

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The group was violently prevented from approaching the border by the Turkish police, which
physically obstructed the group’s contact with the numerous Bulgarian NGOs waiting for
them on the other side of the border, and subjected the applicants to violent beatings and
severe threats which left the children among them shocked and traumatised.

Since 24 May 2023, the group has been held under threat of deportation and detained in
inhumane and degrading conditions, including (but not limited to) insufficient provision of
food and water, woefully inadequate hygienic circumstances, overcrowded facilities with
inadequate space for sleeping and lack of adequate sanitary supplies (e.g. soap, sanitary
pads), risk of spreading diseases and complete lack of urgently needed medical care. Not
even the most vulnerable group members are being spared.

Such treatment gravely violates the applicants’ rights as guaranteed by Article 3 ECHR, and
for this reason the 101 members of the Ahmadi Religion of Peace and Light have applied to
the European Court of Human Rights with a request for urgent relief under Rule 39 of the
Rules of Court.

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Through their urgent request to the European Court of Human Rights, the group essentially
is asking for Europe’s protection in ensuring that the Republic of Türkiye immediately stops
the ongoing inhuman and degrading treatment of the applicants, which severely endangers
their physical integrity and mental health. The group has asked the European Court of
Human Rights to order that independent medical experts and NGOs be allowed to monitor
their health and the conditions of their detention, that their prompt release from detention be
ensured, and has also asked that their deportation towards their countries of origin be
prevented.

Rule 39 of the Rules of Court allows the European Court of Human Rights to issue urgent
measures to safeguard “key” human rights such as the right to life or the prohibition of
torture.

Under the European Court’s well-established case law, these measures have legally binding
effect, and non-compliance by the State to which they are addressed gives rise to a severe
violation of international law.

It is of utmost importance for Türkiye to immediately stop the ongoing inhuman treatment of
these people and to comply with any corresponding order that the European Court of Human Rights may issue.

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