Dr M: Police had enough reason to believe Turkish teacher shouldn’t remain in Malaysia

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad addresses reporters during a press conference at the Al-Bukhary Foundation in Kuala Lumpur August 30,2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad addresses reporters during a press conference at the Al-Bukhary Foundation in Kuala Lumpur August 30,2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 30 — The police had enough evidence on Turkish chemistry teacher Arif Komis to detain and deport him, his wife and four kids, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Speaking to a press conference after the weekly Pakatan Harapan (PH) Presidential Council meeting today, the prime minister said he only heard that Arif was deported this morning but could not give any confirmation.

“Action was taken by the police. They had evidence and believed he should not be in the country,” said Dr Mahathir.

When asked about the risk of torture and persecution against Arif, who is protected by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Dr Mahathir fired back and asked if Malaysia had accused Turkey of torturing its own citizens.

He explained that the claims of possible torture only come from human rights non-governmental organisations.

Touching on why controversial Indian-born televangelist Dr Zakir Naik was not deported, he said that the authorities have not found any basis to his case.

He also questioned where Malaysia can send Dr Zakir and welcomed suggestions.

Earlier Turkey-based human rights website Turkeypurge.com said it received an email from eyewitnesses claiming that Arif, his wife and four children were nabbed two nights ago from their home in Kuala Lumpur and held at an immigration centre near Putrajaya where they are being processed for deportation at the request of the Turkish government.

“Mr Komis, who is a chemistry teacher, was repeatedly denied passport by the Turkish Embassy and thus given protection by the UN. He and his family are in UN protection,” Turkeypurge wrote.

According to the news portal, Arif was working at a group of schools affiliated with the Gülen movement, which Malaysia has deemed a terror group that has been accused by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of masterminding a failed coup attempt in 2016.

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