New information

TUR 001 / 0509 / OBS 070.1

Release / Travel ban / Judicial harassment


May 15, 2009

 The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Turkey.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by the Human Rights Association (İnsan Haklari Derneği İHD) about the release of the four human rights lawyers, Mr. Hasan Anlar, İHD Deputy Secretary General, Ms. Filiz Kalayci, İHD Executive Committee member, Mr. Halil İbrahim Vargün, İHD former treasurer, and Mr. Murat Vargün.

According to the information received, the four lawyers, who were detained since May 12, 2009, were released in the night of May 14, 2009. According to their lawyers, the Public Prosecutor brought Mr. Hasan Anlar, Ms. Filiz Kalayci, Mr. Halil Ibrahim Vargun and Mr. Murat Vargun before the 11th district High Criminal Court of Ankara and requested that they be remanded in detention. However, the court decided to release the four lawyers, but imposed a travel ban on them, on the basis of Article 109 of the Code of Criminal Procedure or CMK No. 5271 dated 2004. Pursuant to the ban, the four lawyers are not allowed to leave the country, as long as the proceedings are ongoing. Once the Public Prosecutor has closed its investigation, the court will decide on whether to indict the four lawyers and start a trial.

The Observatory welcomes the release of Mr. Hasan Anlar, Ms. Filiz Kalayci, Mr. Halil Ibrahim Vargun and Mr. Murat Vargun and wishes to thank all the persons, organisations, and institutions that intervened in their behalf. Nevertheless, the Observatory expresses its concern about the ongoing judicial harassment faced by them.

Background information:

On May 12, 2009, in Ankara, the offices and homes of Mr. Hasan Anlar, Ms. Filiz Kalayci, Mr. Halil İbrahim Vargün and Mr. Murat Vargün were raided by officers of the Anti-Terror Unit of the police, who were in possession of a search warrant and a detention order against them. The four lawyers were immediately arrested and placed in police custody in the Anti-Terror Forces Unit detention centre. The terms of the detention order remained unknown as of issuing this urgent appeal. In accordance with the Code of Criminal Procedure or CMK No. 5271 dated 2004, their lawyers have not been allowed to access the police investigation file yet, but charges faced by the four human rights defenders included the offence of “aiding an illegal organisation”.

This crackdown intervened after the İHD published on February 6, 2009 a report on human rights violations in prisons of Turkey and made it public to draw attention on these violations. İHD has shared this report with the authorities. In addition, the four lawyers had been working on cases of human rights violations that occurred in detention, and as a consequence they often received letters of complaint from prison inmates.

Actions required:

Please write to the Turkish authorities, urging them to:

  1. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Hasan Anlar, Ms. Filiz Kalayci, Mr. Halil İbrahim Vargün and Mr. Murat Vargün and of all human rights defenders in Turkey;

  1. Put an end to all acts harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Hasan Anlar, Ms. Filiz Kalayci, Mr. Halil İbrahim Vargün and Mr. Murat Vargün, ÍHD members in general as well as against all human rights defenders in Turkey;

  1. Comply with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, especially its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, as well as Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

  1. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Turkey.


  • President of Turkey, Mr. Abdullah Gül, Cumhurbaskanligi 06100 Ankara, Turkey; Fax: +90 312 468 5026; Email: cumhurbaskanligi@tccb.gov.tr

  • Prime Minister, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Office of the Prime Minister Basbakanlik 06573 Ankara, Turkey, Fax: + 90 312 417 0476; receptayyip.erdogan@basbakanlik.gov.tr

  • Deputy Prime Minister and State Minister for Human Rights, Mr. Cemil Çiçek Fax: 00 90 312 417 42 06

  • Interior Minister, Mr. Beşir Atalay, Ministry of Interior, Içisleri Bakanligi, 06644 Ankara, Turkey; Fax: + 90 312 418 17 95 / +90 312 418 7696, besir.atalay@icisleri.gov.tr

  • Justice Minister, Mr. Sadullah Ergin, Ministry of Justice/ Adalet Bakanligi, 06659 Ankara, Turkey; Fax: + 90 312 414 62 26

  • Foreign Minister Mr. Ahmed Davudoglu , Office of the Prime Minister, Basbakanlik, 06573 Ankara, Turkey; Fax: +90 312 287 88 11

  • Ambassador, Mr. Ahmet Üzümcü, Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations in Geneva, Ch. du Petit-Saconnex 28b – CP 271, CH-1211, Geneva 19, Switzerland, E-mail : mission.turkey@ties.itu.int, Fax: +41 22 734 08 59

  • Diplomatic Mission of Turkey to the European Union in Brussels, avenue Louis Lepoutre, 99, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 340 98 79.

Please also write to the embassies of Turkey in your respective country.


Paris-Geneva, May 15, 2009


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

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need. The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org

Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29



International Federation for Human Rights

17, Passage de la Main d’Or

75 011 Paris, France


World Organisation Against Torture

Case postale 21 – 8 rue du Vieux-Billard

1211 Geneva 8, Switzerlan

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