TUR 004 / 0617 / OBS 074
Provisional release /

Judicial harassment /
Restriction to freedom of movement
Turkey
30 June 2017

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Turkey.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the judicial harassment against Mr. Ali Tanrıverdi, President of the Mersin Branch of the Human Rights Association (İnsan Haklari Derneği – İHD).

According to the information received, on May 18, 2017, the Mersin 7th Heavy Criminal Court heard the case against Mr. Ali Tanrıverdi on charges of “being a member of terrorist organisation” and “making propaganda of terrorist organisation” (respectively Article 314/2 of the Turkish Penal Code and Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law – ATL). Those charges are related to Mr. Tanrıverdi’s human rights activities as the President of the IHD Mersin branch, including press statements, social media posts and participation in peaceful demonstrations, activities that were interpreted by the court within the framework of “conducting activities belonging to terrorist organisation”. The court decided to release Mr. Ali Tanriverdi on condition of judicial supervision, pending trial, and following five months in detention (see background information). Furthermore, an international travel ban was issued against him.

On the same day, Mr. Ali Tanrıverdi was brought to trial before the Mersin 7th Heavy Criminal Court under the same charges under Articles 314/2 of the Penal Code and Article 7/2 of the ATL, along with other 23 persons, including IHD members Mr. Cengiz Macit, Ms. Emine Meral Vuranok, Mr. Erdal Sarıkaya, Ms. Fatma Ölmez, Mr. Ferhat Tarhan, Ms. Nazan Dündar, Ms. Yeter Güzel, as well as Ms. Leyla Erdoğan and Mr. Mahmut Karabulut. The next trial before the Mersin 7th Heavy Criminal Court was set for January 9, 2018.

The Observatory welcomes the provisional release of Mr. Ali Tanrıverdi but condemns the ongoing harassment, including at the judicial level, targeting him and the other above-mentioned human rights defenders, as it only aims at sanctioning their peaceful and legitimate human rights activities. Accordingly, the Observatory calls upon the Turkish judicial authorities to end all forms of harassment against all the above-mentioned defenders, and to lift the travel ban against Mr. Ali Tanrıverdi.

Background information:

On December 12, 2016, Mr. Ali Tanrıverdi was taken into custody without any legal ground. He was not allowed to receive visits from either his family or lawyers until December 19, 2016. On that day, the Mersin Office of Chief Public Prosecutor issued an arrest warrant against Mr. Ali Tanrıverdi bearing no legal ground, but it was reported that the arrest would be related to a suspicion of membership to a terrorist organisation. Mr. Ali Tanrıverdi was then transferred to the Karaman Closed Prison, 300 km away from the Mersin E-Type Closed Prison, where he remained detained until his release on May 18, which created further burdens for his family and lawyers to communicate with him.

During his five months in prison, Mr. Ali Tanrıverdi had been denied access to proper medical care, despite his sensitive health, as he suffers from many chronic diseases, including hearth problems, hypertension and diabetes. As a result of the lack of proper health care, Mr. Ali Tanriverdi health conditions deteriorated.

The Observatory further recalls that Mr. Ali Tanrıverdi has been the target of several acts of judicial harassment over the past years. On 2012, Mr. Ali Tanrıverdi was among the at least 42 people arrested in the context of police operations targeting the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK)[1].

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities in Turkey, urging them to:

  1. Immediately take all the appropriate measures to ensure the safety and the physical integrity of Mr. Ali Tanrıverdi, as well as of all above-mentioned human rights defenders and all human rights defenders in Turkey;
  2. Put an end to all forms of harassment, including at judicial level, against Mr. Ali Tanrıverdi, as well as all above-mentioned human rights defenders and all human rights defenders in Turkey;
  3. Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular its Articles 1, 6(a), 9, 11 and 12.2;
  4. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Turkey.

Addresses:

  • President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Fax: (+90 312) 525 58 31
  • Prime Minister of Turkey Binali Yıldırım, Fax: +90 (312) 403 62 82 Email: ozelkalem@basbakanlik.gov.tr
  • Minister of Justice, Mr. Bekir Bozdağ, Fax: +90 (0312) 419 33 70; E-mail: ozelkalem@adalet.gov.tr
  • Minister of Interior, Mr. Süleyman Soylu ; Fax: +90 (312) 425 61 30
  • Ambassador Izzet Selim Yenel, Diplomatic Mission of Turkey to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium; Fax: + 32 2 511 04 50
  • Ambassador Mr. Ali Naci Koru, Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 734 08 59; Email: mission.turkey@ties.itu.int

Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of Turkey in your respective country.

***

Paris-Geneva, June 30, 2017

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

  • E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
  • Tel and fax FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
  • Tel and fax OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29