Amnesty International to send observers to Saturday Mothers’ sit-in on Sept. 1

Amnesty International (AI) stated on Thursday that it would send observers on September 1 to a sit-in organized by the Saturday Mothers, whose meetings in İstanbul have been prohibited by Turkish Interior Ministry.

AI said in a written statement that it was “alarmed by the statements made by the Turkish Minister of Interior on August 27, suggesting that a ban on the weekly vigil may be imposed in the future.”

Amnesty recalled that “the relatives of those forcibly disappeared and others who had gathered to participate in the vigil on August 25 were peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, guaranteed under both domestic and international human rights law.”

AI called on “the authorities to ensure that the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly of everyone, including participants in the vigil, are upheld and respected during the next vigil, due to take place on September 1 and subsequently after that.”

Amnesty International said it “will send observers to the vigil due to take place on Saturday, September 1.”.

On August 25, 2018, police in İstanbul attacked the peaceful vigil by relatives of people who have been forcibly disappeared while in the custody of Turkish security forces. The weekly peaceful vigil in Galatasaray Square was due to mark the 700th week of the protest since 1995 by the Saturday Mothers.

The Saturday Mothers have been demanding justice and the truth about the disappearances of their beloved while in custody. Those responsible for the disappearances have not been brought to justice.

Police used tear gas, water cannons and plastic bullets on those assembled, including relatives of people forcibly disappeared, human rights defenders and parliamentarians, as well as journalists covering the vigil. Some 47 participants were ill-treated and detained, included some elderly mothers.

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