Last two Orizont teachers sentenced in Turkey

The last two of the seven Turkish Orizont school teachers extradited from Moldova in September 2018 received their sentences recently.

Sedat Hasan Karacaoğlu, the school’s deputy director, and Feridun Tüfekçi, the hadmaster of the Çadır-Lunga branch, were sentenced to 8 years and 3 months, and 7 years and 6 months, respectively. This was confirmed for IPN by Hasan Barış, director of Orizont’s Durlești branch.

The other five teachers earlier received sentences ranging from 6 to 12 years in prison.

Just a month before the planned visit of the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Moldova, the seven teachers were apprehended on suspicions of being linked to an unnamed terrorist organization and put on a plane to Turkey. In Ankara, the news was touted as a victory of the Turkish secret services in the fight against the Gulen network. The then PDM government denied any political motives for the extradition.

Human rights groups decried this as a violation of fundamental human rights and international treaties, pointing to the fact that the teachers were likely to be subjected to torture and ill-treatment in Turkish detention. In June 2019, the European Court of Human Rights confirmed the violation, ordering the Moldovan government to pay the teachers’ families 25,000 euros each. A couple of months after the PDM government was ousted, a prosecutorial investigation was started. In September, a deputy director of the Security and Intelligence Service and the director of the Migration and Asylum Bureau were charged with abuse of office.

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