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European court rules Moldova must compensate teachers deported to Turkey

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The Moldovan government should pay the five men, who are currently in custody in Turkey 28,000 dollars each, the court said, for their “forcible transfer’’ which “lacked a sufficient legal basis.’’

The five were secondary-school teachers at the Orizont chain of schools.

The Turkish ambassador claimed the schools were tied to a movement that Ankara blames for a 2016 coup attempt in Turkey and accused the teachers of terrorism.

Fearing reprisals in their home country, the men had applied for asylum in Moldova in April 2018, the ECHR statement said.

They were arrested in September in a joint Moldovan-Turkish operation and flown out of Chisinau in a private chartered plane.

The ECHR said Moldova “had not only failed to give the applicants a choice of jurisdiction to be expelled to, but had deliberately transferred them directly into the hands of the Turkish authorities’’.

It said the operation was organised in a “manner as to take the applicants by surprise so that they would have no time or possibility to defend themselves.’’

Turkey accuses Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen of masterminding a coup attempt by a faction of the military.

In March, Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul said 107 suspected Gulen supporters have been brought to Turkey, following extradition requests to 91 countries for 504 people, state news agency Anadolu reported then.

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