On 13 February, the Dutch Council of State ruled on the risks supporters of the Gülen movement might be facing in Turkey after the attempted 2016 coup d'état.

The case concerned a Turkish teacher who had been dismissed by the Turkish authorities on the basis of allegations of terrorism in connection to the Gülen movement. His application for asylum was rejected by the State Secretary for Justice and Security, who denied that a well-founded fear of persecution had been established and held that there was no general risk of ill-treatment for supporters of the Gülen movement within the meaning of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Subsequently, the District Court of The Hague granted the applicant's appeal finding that the Secretary of State had violated their duty to assess the relevant elements of the application under Article 4 (1) of the Qualification Directive, as they had failed to assess whether the applicant was part of a group that was systematically exposed to inhuman treatment. The State Secretary challenged this decision before the Council of State.

The Council of State found that the State Secretary had wrongly assumed that there was no Article 3 risk for supporters of the Gülen movement in Turkey. In light of the considerable number of people arrested, detained and prosecuted based on their alleged connection to the movement, there were serious reasons to believe that its supporters are at risk of being arbitrarily arrested and detained. It further found that the evidence submitted by the applicant suggested that individuals arrested and detained in this context were facing a risk of torture and inhuman treatment. While the Council accepted that the situation had improved considerably shortly after the attempted coup, more recent reports from March 2018 testify to a rise in the number of incidents of treatment contrary to Article 3 ECHR.

Based on an unofficial translation by the ELENA Weekly Legal Update of 8 March 2019

Decision in Dutch

general situation of Gulen movement and whether this groups runs a real risk of treatment in violation of article 3 ECHR

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