On Wednesday, 30 out of 104 members of the Ahmadi Religion of Peace and Light, a religiously persecuted minority, who sought asylum at the Turkish/Bulgarian border, have reported severe beatings, torture, and abuse by Turkish authorities at the Edirne deportation center in Turkey.

A Turkish court has issued a deportation order for 103 members of the Ahmadi Religion of Peace and Light from seven countries. If sent back to their countries of origin, many of them, especially in Iran, face imprisonment and the risk of execution.

Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF) in Brussels is calling upon the United Nations, particularly the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Ms Nazila Ghanea, the European Union, especially the EU Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Mr Frans Van Daele, as well as the European Parliament’s Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief, and the Special Envoys on Freedom of Religion or Belief appointed in the United Kingdom and several EU Member States, and the OSCE/ODIHR to urge the Turkish authorities to cancel the deportation decision on appeal. The deadline for the appeal is today.

First-hand testimonies, voice recordings, and photographs provided by the detained members provide detailed accounts of the torture and abuse inflicted upon them by Turkish authorities.

Among the detained members, 30 individuals, including 10 women and 2 children, report severe injuries. Despite their requests for hospital visits, they have been denied medical attention. Redouane Foufa, a member from Algeria, reports being beaten and injected with an unknown substance. He further describes in a voice recording how women and children were subjected to torture methods, including deprivation of food, water, sleep, and being forced to stand in the sun.

Hassan Oyandi, a Turkish member, shares a video testimony of being heavily beaten, with visible bruises and swellings evident in photographs.

Two UK amateur journalists, Sermad Al-Khafaji and Alexandra Foreman, who accompanied the group, were also detained and accused of being British agents. Mrs. Foreman describes being held under extremely poor conditions and witnessing a group being beaten. Sermad Al-Khafaji reports in a video testimony that he was severely mistreated and beaten.

These actions clearly violate Article 148 of the Turkish Criminal Procedure Code, which prohibits bodily or mental interventions such as misconduct, torture, and the administration of medicines.

The torture inflicted upon our members constitutes a flagrant violation of their human rights. We urge the international community to hold Turkey accountable for the torture and abuse suffered by our members and ensure their protection and safety. We also call on the UNHCR and the European Union to recommend them for resettlement.