The Movement "Expel Racism" reported yesterday (01 June 2013) that, according to information given by the Turkish police to his lawyers and relatives, Bulut Yayla , a Turkish Kurd asylum seeker in Greece, is now in police custody in Turkey [Update: Lawyers for Refugees and Migrants' Rights report that he was handed over to the police in Edirne. He is now held by the antiterrorism unit in Istanbul after being handed by his Greek-speaking kidnappers to another team that spoke both Greek and Turkish, and then to another that spoke Turkish and English.]. He was abducted in downtown Athens in the evening of 30 May by five men who dragged him in a car and had been unheard from since.
An urgent press release dated 31 May and co-signed by the Greek Council for Refugees, the Social Support Network for Refugees and Migrants, the Team of Lawyers for Refugee and Migrant Rights and the Solidarity Committee for Political Prisoners in Turkey and Kurdistan describe events surrounding his disappearance as follows:
- As Bulut Yayla crossed the street after leaving a Kurdish restaurant in the Exarchia neighbourhood of Athens, five men leapt out of a car that had been parked nearby for several hours, immobilized him, beat him savagely, gagged him and shoved him into the car before driving away.
- Lawyers, agencies, solidarity groups and MPs got in touch with the various state agencies that may have been involved. The police (including local precincts, the department for refugees, the department for deportations, the Athens police HQ, the national police leadership) denied that they had any knowledge of the incident, despite the fact that eyewitnesses had contacted the direct intervention service as early as 10:30 pm.
- A detailed account of the abduction, including the license plate number of the kidnappers' car, was posted on Indymedia by an eyewitness. It turned out that the car belongs to the Hellenic Police. The police continued however to deny that it had any knowledge of the incident, while the head of the police assigned the local National Security department of Exarchia to conduct an investigation. Update: a press release of the Hellenic Police issued on 02 June denies that the police has any records of the "said Turkish national." This confirms information received by radiobubble through private sources, who report that there is no record of him going through the airport, indicating that the case is more akin to a kidnapping than an extradition.
- The Greek Council for Refugees sent an urgent request to the European Court for Human Rights, asking it to take adequate action to prevent deportation of Bulut Yayla to Turkey. Bulut Yayla had not managed to file his asylum application yet in the infamous Petrou Ralli immigration centre in Athens, despite the fact that he had been a victim of torture in Turkey.
- The organisations co-signing the press release note that deportation of Bulut Yayla to Turkey would breach the principle of non-refoulement as well as Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights banning torture and other forms of ill-treatment, and emphasize that his life is in danger.
After reporting that Bulut Yayla is now in police custody in Turkey, the Movement "Expel Racism" further demands that the Hellenic Police, the Ministry of Public Order and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs face their responsibilities instead of pretending that they have no knowledge of the abduction and deportation of an asylum-seeker.
"There are two likely explanations: either Mr. Dendias and the Hellenic Police leadership are covering mafia-like, para-state agents within their ministry, or these agents operate by now in such an autonomous fashion that they do not care if they expose their administrative and political leadership."