A previous statement signed by 29 civil society organisations and groups informed of the intention of 103 members of the Ahmadi Religion of Peace and Light to approach the official Kapikule border crossing point from Turkey in order to claim asylum in Bulgaria.
On May 24th, the group approached the Kapikule border crossing point from the Turkish side and were prevented from reaching Bulgaria to lodge their claims for international protection. The group reported that they were met with extreme violence including being beaten with batons, shots being fired in the air, and being forced into buses. From there they were taken to the Edirne Provincial Gendarmeria Command where they were detained for two days. They were then transferred to the Edirne Migration Centre where, at the time of writing, they are still being detained. On 29th May each member of the group was issued with a return decision to their countries of origin, including Iraq, Iran, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Jordan, Thailand and Palestine. The return decisions are all currently being appealed. Members of the religious group have faced arrest, prison sentences, death threats and attacks in their countries of origin (as explained in the previous statement). If returned, they face a risk of further persecution and of violations of their rights, including the right to be from torture, inhuman or degrading treatment and their right to life.