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Over 100 Church members beaten and arrested at the Turkish Border

KAPIKULE, TURKEY, May 24th, 9:00 GMT]- Over 100 members of The Ahmadi Religion of Peace and Light, a persecuted religious minority, who have presented themselves at the Turkish-Bulgarian border claiming asylum this morning have just been refused entry, violently beaten, pushed back and taken to Edirne public safety office. Gunshots were fired at them, they were threatened and their belongings were thrown away.

The group includes women, children and the elderly. The 103 individuals have been subjected to extreme and systematic forms of religious persecution all across Muslim-majority countries because of their faith. They had been beaten, imprisoned, kidnapped, humiliated and terrorized in countries like Iran, Iraq, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Azerbaijan and Thailand.

They had gathered in Turkey and were on their way to the Turkish-Bulgarian border to assume their human right to request asylum directly from the Bulgarian Border Police, in line with Article 58(4) of the Law on Asylum and Refugees (LAR), which states that asylum can be applied for with a verbal statement submitted in front of the border police.

This comes after all attempts to obtain a visa on humanitarian grounds had been unsuccessful. Article 18 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights state that refugees have the right to asylum and to a full and fair individualised assessment with the right to appeal. The members of this religious minority have followed legal procedures in order to seek asylum as per internationally agreed-upon human rights laws.


Additionally, an open letter by the European Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN) was sent on Tuesday, the 23rd of May, 2023, with human rights organizations signing their
endorsement, urging for the protection of the group and their right to claim asylum at the
border be upheld, in accordance with international law.

For Turkey to respond to this humanitarian refugee crisis in this manner is a breaking of
internationally agreed upon human rights laws.
This breaking of human rights laws by the Turkish Government is an outrage and an absolute
travesty of justice.
The Ahmadi Religion of Peace and Light is a 501c3 US-based non-profit organization with
Church status.
We demand that our innocent members of this registered religion be granted their human right to asylum and sanctuary, that they are treated as lawful citizens and that they are released immediately from their detainment.


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