ALERT: Arrest of 8 Human Rights defenders in Turkey

Alerts, Shrinking Space for Civil Society, Turkey

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EuroMed Rights is extremely concerned to learn the arrest of 8 human rights defenders in Turkey. According to the information, on 5 July 2017, eight human rights defenders, along with two consultants, were detained on Buyukada island, off the coast of Istanbul in Turkey.

Ms. Nalan Erkem and Ms. Ozlem Dalkiran are activists of Citizen’s Assembly, which is a member organization of Network. In addition to Ms. Erkem and Ms. Dalkıran, the following defenders were arrested 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, lawyer. These human rights defenders were arrested while they were attending a workshop on digital security. Two consultants, Ali Gharawi and Peter Steudtner, were also detained. They are accused of being members of an illegal-armed organization under the provision of Article 314/2 of the Turkish Penal Code. Their detention period has been extended to 7 days under the State of Emergency.

Although they were arrested in the early morning on 5 July 2017, neither their family members nor lawyers were informed about the arrest or whereabouts. EuroMed Rights President, Michel Tubiana, says: “This arrest is the last example of ongoing pressure on human rights defenders and civil society organisations in Turkey. This incident is, also, a reflection of continuous deterioration of human rights situation in the country.

We call on Turkish authorities to act in line with the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and EU Guideline on Human Rights Defenders. Moreover, we call on international human rights mechanisms such as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, and international community to follow the arrest of human rights defenders closely.

Human rights defenders must be released!

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