KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian police have arrested two Turks, including the head of an international school, suspected of activities threatening national security, police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said.
The men, school head Turgay Karaman and businessman Ihsan Aslan, were arrested on Tuesday under a section of the penal code related to “terrorist acts”, he said in a Tweet.
No further details of their alleged activities in Muslim-majority Malaysia were immediately available.
The police confirmation came after Karaman was seen on CCTV recordings circulated on social media being forced into an unmarked car by five unknown men at a carpark in a suburb of Kuala Lumpur.
A police report was filed on Karaman’s disappearance by a friend on Tuesday night.
Aslan was also reported missing by his wife on Tuesday night after she failed to hear from him for more than a day.
Karaman’s lawyer, Rosli Dahlan, told Reuters that the disappearances bore similarities to a case in October when two Turks were reported missing and later discovered to have been deported to Turkey.
He denied speculation that the men were supporters of U.S-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is being blamed by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan for orchestrating a failed coup last year. Gulen denies any involvement in the failed coup in which more than 230 people were killed.
“They are academics. They have not been charged for any Gulen activities,” Rosli said.
Turkey has applied pressure to other countries that are home to institutions backed by Gulen, whose Hizmet movement runs about 2,000 educational establishments around the world.
Human Rights Watch on Wednesday said the two men should not be forcibly sent to Turkey, and called for an urgent investigation.
“There is little doubt that if they are returned to Turkey, they will face torture in detention, and if charged with crimes there, be subjected to a trial that will fall far short of fair trial standards,” Phil Robertson, Deputy Asia Director of Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.
Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Nick Macfie