[KAPIKULE, TURKEY, May 24th, 9:00 GMT] – Over 100 members of The Ahmadi Religion of
Peace and Light, a persecuted religious minority, who have presented themselves at the
Turkish-Bulgarian border claiming asylum this morning have just been refused entry, violently
beaten, pushed back and taken to Edirne public safety office. Gunshots were fired at them, they
were threatened and their belongings thrown away. The group includes women, children and
The 103 individuals have been subjected to extreme and systematic forms of religious
persecution all across Muslim-majority countries because of their faith. They had been beaten,
imprisoned, kidnapped, humiliated and terrorized in countries like Iran, Iraq, Algeria, Egypt,
Morocco, Azerbaijan and Thailand.
They had gathered in Turkey and were on their way to the Turkish-Bulgarian border to assume
their human right to request asylum directly from the Bulgarian Border Police, in line with the
Article 58(4) of the Law on Asylum and Refugees (LAR), which states that asylum can be
applied for with a verbal statement submitted in front of the border police. This comes after all
attempts to obtain a visa on humanitarian grounds had been unsuccessful.
Article 18 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to
the Status of Refugees and Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights state that
refugees have the right to asylum and to a full and fair individualised assessment with the right
The members of this religious minority have followed legal procedures in order to seek asylum
as per internationally agreed upon human rights laws.
Additionally, an open letter by the European Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN) was
sent on Tuesday, the 23rd of May, 2023, with human rights organizations signing their
endorsement, urging for the protection of the group and that their right to claim asylum at the
border be upheld, in accordance with international law.
For Turkey to respond to this humanitarian refugee crisis in this manner is a breaking of
internationally agreed upon human rights laws.
This breaking of human rights laws by the Turkish Government is an outrage and an absolute
travesty of justice.
The Ahmadi Religion of Peace and Light is a 501c3 US based non-profit organization with
We demand that our innocent members of this registered religion be granted their human right
to asylum and sanctuary, that they be treated as lawful citizens who have committed no crime,
and that they be released immediately from their detainment.