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Refugee Minister Claims Georgia has Strong Diplomatic Guarantees for Cabuk

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, February 9
(TBILISI)--Georgian Refugee Minister Sozar Subari claims that the country has received “strong diplomatic guarantees” that the Turkish national Mustafa Emre Cabuk, detained for terrorism charges, will be in good conditions in prison.

Cabuk, who dismisses any links with terrorists, had asked refugee status in Georgia, which was refused by the country’s Refugee Ministry and the Tbilisi City Court.

Now it is completely up to the Court of Appeals of Georgia to retain the Refugee Ministry decision or to oblige the Ministry to grant the status to Cabuk, who had been living in Georgia since 2002 and was engaged with educational activities.

"We do not know what the court will do. This depends on how strong evidence will be presented by the Turkish side about Cabuk's criminal offense. I will not make preliminary assessments.

“I can only say that the Government of Georgia has received very strong diplomatic guarantees that if Mustafa Emre Cabuk is extradited to Turkey, he will be in the conditions which fully meet the standards of the European Convention on Human Rights,” Minister Subari said.

The Georgian NGOs and the opposition do not believe Cabuk will be well-treated in his homeland and say that the Ministry and the City Court had “no grounds” to leave him without the refugee status.

The NGOs have addressed President Giorgi Margvelashvili to grant the Georgian citizenship to Cabuk to avoid his extradition.

The United National Movement opposition assures that Cabuk is politically persecuted.

Cabuk was detained on May 24, 2017 after the official visit of Turkish Prime Minister and members of Cabinet to Georgia.

He is charged of having links to the FETO organization, registered in the United States and associated with Fethullah Gulen, who is accused of orchestrating a military coup attempt in Turkey on 15 July, 2016.

Cabuk dismisses any links with terrorists and says that sharing Gulen’s views is not a crime.

Cabuk served as quality manager of Demirel private college in Tbilisi, which closed shortly after the detention for not meeting necessary educational requirements.