Arbitrary Detention of HRDs in Turkey

Human rights defenders detained by police in Istanbul on July 5, 2017. From bottom left: İlknur Üstün, Özlem Dalkıran, İdil Eser, Nalan Erkem, Nejat Taştan, Şeyhmus Özbekli, Günal Kurşun, Veli Acu and Peter Steudtner. © 2017 Bianet

TUR 005 / 0717 / OBS 078
Arbitrary detention / Judicial harassment /
Obstacles to freedoms of association
and peaceful assembly
Turkey
July 7, 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 arbitrary arrest and detention of eight human rights defenders, namely: Ms. Nalan Erkem, lawyer with the Citizens Assembly, Ms. Özlem Dalkıran, member of the Citizens Assembly,Ms. İlknur Üstün, member of the Women’s Coalition, Ms. Idil Eser, Director of Amnesty International Turkey, Mr. Günal Kurşun,lawyer with the Human Rights Agenda Association, Mr. Veli Acu, member of the Human Rights Agenda Association,Mr.Nejat Taştan, member of Equal Rights Watch Association, Mr. Şeyhmuz Özbekli, trainee lawyer and member of the Rights Initiative, as well as Mr. Ali Gharawi and Mr. Peter Steudtner, security consultants[1].
 
According to the information received, on July 5, 2017, the eight human rights defenders were arrested following a police raid during a digital security and information management workshop organised by the Citizens Assembly[2] in Büyükada, Istanbul. As of publication of this Urgent Appeal, the eight human rights defenders were being detained in different police stations across town and scheduled to be transferred on July 7, 2017 to Istanbul Directorate of Security on Vatan Street.
 
Under Turkey’s state of emergency, they will not be given access to their lawyers and family for at least 24 hours.On July 6, 2017, after 24 hours, their detention was extended for seven days.
 
It has been reported that they are being investigated for “membership of an illegal-armed organisation” under Article 314/2 of the Turkish Penal Code by the Istanbul Security Directorate.
 
The Observatory expresses its deepest concerns over this new wave of arbitrary arrests targeting human rights defenders for the exercise of their legitimate and peaceful human rights activities and obstacles to freedoms of association and peaceful assembly[3].
 
The Observatory urges Turkish authorities to grant Nalan Erkem, Özlem Dalkıran, İlknur Üstün, Idil Eser, Günal Kurşun, Veli Acu, Nejat Taştan, Şeyhmuz Özbekli, Ali Gharawi and Peter Steudtner immediate access to their lawyers and to immediately and unconditionally release them.
 
Actions requested:
 
Please write to the authorities in Turkey, urging them to:
 
i. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of Nalan Erkem, Özlem Dalkıran, İlknur Üstün, Idil Eser, Günal Kurşun, Veli Acu, Nejat Taştan, Şeyhmuz Özbekli, Ali Gharawi and Peter Steudtner, as well as of all human rights defenders in Turkey;
 
ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Nalan Erkem, Özlem Dalkıran, İlknur Üstün, Idil Eser, Günal Kurşun, Veli Acu, Nejat Taştan, Şeyhmuz Özbekli, Ali Gharawi, and Peter Steudtner as their detention is arbitrary since it only aims at punishing them for their legitimate human rights activities;
 
iii. Immediately allow Nalan Erkem, Özlem Dalkıran, İlknur Üstün, Idil Eser, Günal Kurşun, Veli Acu, Nejat Taştan, Şeyhmuz Özbekli, Ali Gharawi, and Peter Steudtner to access their family and lawyers and guarantee their right to due process and a fair trial;
 
iv. 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;
 
v. 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, July 7, 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
 

[1]The hotel owner was also arrested and released on July 6, 2017.
[2]The Citizens Assembly is an NGO dedicated to peace, democracy and human rights in Europe, working on the notions of fundamental rights and freedoms, peace, democracy and pluralism.
[3]Countless human rights defenders have been arrested since the 2016 failed coup. Among them, Mr. Taner Kılıç, chair founding member of Amnesty International Turkey remains in detention following his arrest on June 6, 2017. See the Observatory’s Urgent Appeal TUR 003 / 0617 / OBS 064 published on June 16, 2017.