Protesters In Georgia Rally Against Extradition Of Teacher To Turkey

TBILISI -- Dozens of protesters rallied in front of the Georgian government's chancellery in Tbilisi on June 7 to voice support for a Turkish professor who faces extradition to Turkey.

Activists, NGO officers, and Black Sea University students and teachers handcuffed themselves in support of Mustafa Emre Cabuk, a teacher and manager at Demirel College in the Georgian capital.

He is wanted by Ankara for alleged links with the movement of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom the Turkish government considers a terrorist and claims was behind a failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in July 2016. Gulen denies invovement.

The Tbilisi City Court placed Cabuk under three-month preextradition detention on May 25.

The activists held European Union and Georgian flags and posters saying "The Teacher Is Innocent," "Do Not Extradite," and "Freedom For Mustafa Cabuk."

Cabuk has lived in Georgia for 15 years. His lawyer, Soso Baratashvili, has said the Turkish extradition request contains no solid evidence proving his client is associated with Gulen.

Georgian Ombudsman Ucha Nanuashvili has called on Georgia's government to rely on international regulations and standards when making a decision on Cabuk's extradition and to take into account "numerous violations of rights" of people arrested in Turkey following the coup attempt.

More than 120,000 people have been suspended or dismissed from their jobs in the state and private sectors and more than 40,000 arrested in the wake of the mutiny.