Detention of nine human rights defenders in Turkey

Who we wrote to

The president of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayip Erdoğan.

What’s the issue

We’re alarmed at the ongoing detention of nine human rights defenders, who were placed in custody in June and July 2017.

Having initially been detained for more than 24 hours without legal representation or family contact, we understand that the public prosecutor used decree laws to increase the length of time that they could be held without being formally charged.

The use of decree laws in this manner is a cause for great concern, and one that we previously raised in a joint letter on 13 March 2017. We’ve been informed that the detainees have been charged with “aiding an armed terrorist organisation”.

What we asked for

We urged the relevant authorities to:

  • release the nine detained human rights defenders without delay
  • end their solitary confinement and make sure the conditions in which they’re being held conform to international standards
  • respect the principles of due process in proceedings brought against them
  • allow these and other human rights defenders in Turkey to carry out their professional activities without fear of intimidation, harassment or detention

Timeline

6 June 2017 – the chair of Amnesty International Turkey was placed in custody together with six lawyers in Izmir. We understand that two defenders are on conditional release with a reporting duty

5 July 2017 – 10 workshop participants were placed in custody. Four were released on bail subject to travel restrictions, but were detained again

11 August 2017 – three detainees were taken out of solitary confinement