ECHR fines Moldova for expelling Turkish teachers at Ankara's request

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) fined the Republic of Moldova on Tuesday for the expulsion of Turkish teachers linked to the Gülen movement, a clandestine Islamist sect that Ankara says carried out the failed coup attempt in 2016.

As well as arresting thousands of people linked to the Gülen movement at home, Turkey has put pressure on governments across the world to close the group’s many schools and attempted to extradite its members abroad.

Seven Turkish teachers, five of whom applied to the ECHR, were expelled from the country accused of terrorism-related activities in a joint operation by the Turkish and Moldovan intelligence agencies in September 2018. They are currently imprisoned in Turkey.

The applicants had been unlawfully deprived of their liberty and extradited to Turkey where they were in danger of imprisonment and the transfer of Turkish nationals to Turkey undermined domestic and international law, the ruling said.

“Depriving the applicants of their liberty in this way amounted to an extra-legal transfer of persons from the Moldovan territory to Turkey which circumvented all guarantees offered to them by domestic and international law,” it said.

The court ruled that the Republic of Moldova would pay 25,000 euros to each applicant.