Moldova obliged by ECHR to pay damages to Turkish teachers of “Orizont” lyceum

The European Court of Human Rights held that the Republic of Moldova violated the rights of the Turkish citizens who were expelled in September 2018. By its decision, the ECHR ordered that Moldova should pay by €25,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage to each of the plaintiffs,  quoting a press release of the public associating “Jurists for Human Rights”.

According to the Court, the arrest of the plaintiffs in September 2018 was neither legal nor necessary and represented an illegal transfer of persons from Moldova’s territory to Turkey, which ignored all the guarantees provided by the national and international legislation.

“The Government argued the Moldovan authorities weren’t aware of the plaintiffs’ fear to travel to Turkey. However, the Court noted the plaintiffs explicitly stated their fear of criminal proceedings in Turkey in their applications for asylum. The Moldovan authorities not only disregarded the possibility of allowing the Turkish citizens to choose the jurisdiction where they were to be expelled, but deliberately transferred them directly to the Turkish authorities,” said the Court, noting the plaintiffs were transported to Turkey by a rented plane and the common operation of the Moldovan and Turkish secret services was evidently organized before September 2018.

The Court held that criminal proceedings weren’t brought against the plaintiffs for participation in the commission of an offense. Contrary to the national legislation, they weren’t familiarized with the decisions concerning their undesirability before the expulsion. Given that the plaintiffs didn’t enjoy minimum protection against authorities’ arbitrariness, the Court concluded that the interference in their private and family life was contrary to the law. The plaintiffs asked for €50,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage and €1,000 court costs. The Court awarded them by €25,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage.

The seven Turkish citizens who served as teachers and managers at the network of “Orizont” lyceums were declared undesirable and expelled from Moldova on September 6, 2018. The Security and Intelligence Service said then the seven were suspected of having ties with an Islamic group that reportedly performed illegal activities in a number of states. The families and colleagues of the teachers mounted multiple protests in support of the seven. At least three of the seven Turkish citizens already got jail terms in Turkey.