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Hundreds In Bishkek Call On Government To Find Missing Educator

Orhan Inandy has been missing since May 31.

BISHKEK -- Some 300 people rallied in Bishkek on June 16 to demand that authorities locate a Turkish-Kyrgyz educator who disappeared more than two weeks earlier.

The protesters gathered in front of the government's headquarters and marched to the parliament's building carrying portraits of Orhan Inandy, the leader of the Sapat educational network in Kyrgyzstan who went missing late on May 31.

Some of the demonstrators carried posters saying "Find Orhan Inandy!"

Inandy's car was found in downtown Bishkek early on June 1 with the doors wide open and valuable items still inside -- suggesting his disappearance was not the result of a robbery.

His wife Reyhan Inandy said earlier that she has evidence her husband was being held in the Turkish Embassy in Bishkek. But Turkey's diplomatic mission denies her claim.

Protests demanding an effective investigation into Inandy’s disappearance have taken place in the Kyrgyz capital almost daily. Many demonstrators say they think he was abducted by Turkish secret service agents.

Human Rights Watch has said that if Inandy was returned to Turkey, he would face arbitrary detention and an unfair trial on terrorism charges, as well as possible ill-treatment and torture.

Inandy -- known in his Turkish documents as Orhan Inan -- is a founder of Ala-Too University in Bishkek. He has lived in Kyrgyzstan since 1995 and holds dual Turkish-Kyrgyz citizenship.

Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov has ordered the Interior Ministry to find him. Police in Bishkek have created a special investigative group for the case.

Ankara in 2019 officially requested that Bishkek extradite two men working for the Sapat educational network in Kyrgyzstan -- Sinan Yilmaz and Sancar Abdulhakim.

Ankara said the two were wanted in Turkey but did not specify criminal charges against them.

The Kyrgyz Prosecutor-General's Office ruled in favor of extraditing the two men at the time. But that decision was overturned by a Bishkek court following protest rallies against the move.

During the past five years, Turkey has called on Kyrgyzstan to shut down the activities of the Sapat educational network.

It claims the organization is linked to the U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for a failed coup in July 2016.

Gulen rejects the claim.