Amnesty protests arrest of 2 members in front of Turkish embassies

Amnesty International members have protested the detention and arrest in Turkey of İdil Eser and Taner Kılıç, both of AI, in front of Turkish embassies in Paris and Brussels.

Philippe Hensmans, Belgian director of Amnesty, locked himself in a cage in front of the Turkish Embassy in Brussels to protest the detention of Eser and arrest of Kılıç.

About 35 members of AI protested the detention and arrest of their colleagues in Turkey, handcuffing themself in front of the Turkish Embassy in Paris.

United Nations (UN) human rights spokesman has said on Friday that eight human rights activists and two trainers who were detained during a during a digital security and information management workshop organized by Amnesty International (AI) in İstanbul last week are at significant risk of torture.

Elizabeth Throssell, spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told a regular UN briefing in Geneva that she fears the detainees are at significant risk of torture and other cruel treatment. “We are gravely concerned about all arbitrary arrests and detentions of human rights defenders in Turkey. We fear they are now at significant risk of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”

Speaking to the press after the G20 summit in Hamburg, Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signaled that the detention of the right defenders may turn into imprisonment, adding that their meeting was considered by security forces as a follow up to the July 15 coup bid.

“What was the reason for those [human rights defenders], who you just mentioned, to gather in a hotel in Büyükada (Princes’ Island)? They were there for a meeting [to plan something] that might be considered as a follow up to July 15 coup attempt. Police raided [the hotel] upon a tip from the intelligence agency. And they were detained as a result of that raid. They are not arrested yet. I don’t know the result of this detention process. It might trigger a trial process. It is a different matter. It is not at the hands of judiciary yet,” Erdoğan said.

Last Wednesday Turkish police, acting on an anonymous tip, raided a hotel on Büyükada, one of the Princes’ Islands off İstanbul, and detained Eser from AI, İlknur Üstün from the Women’s Coalition, lawyer Günal Kurşun from the Human Rights Agenda Association, lawyer Nalan Erkem from the Citizens Assembly, Nejat Taştan from the Equal Rights Watch Association, Özlem Dalkıran from the Citizens’ Assembly, lawyer Şeyhmuz Özbekli, and Veli Acu from the Human Rights Agenda Association. Two foreign trainers — a German and a Swedish national — as well as the hotel owner, who was later released, were also detained.

AI Secretary-General Salil Shetty in a statement on Wednesday harshly criticized the detention of AI Turkey Director Eser along with the seven other human rights activists, calling it “a grotesque abuse of power.”

Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused the detained human rights defenders of plotting a follow-up to a July 15, 2016 coup attempt during a press conference in Hamburg on Saturday.

Taner Kılıç, a lawyer and chairman of AI’s Turkey’s board, was arrested on June 9, accused of links to the alleged mastermind of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, Fethullah Gülen, who has denied any involvement.

Meanwhile, Free Rights Defenders Facebook account shared a post on Monday saying “Our human rights defender friends Özlem and İdil have messages for you!”

Meanwhile, the Free Rights Defenders Facebook account shared a post on Monday saying, “Our human rights defender friends Özlem and İdil have messages for you!”

“I am proud of being part of the human rights [defenders] community. I really care about the national and international solidarity that encouraged human rights defenders and now us in police custody. I never felt before in my life like I have a family. So glad I have you,” Dalkıran said.

Eser also said: “We all deserve to live in a peaceful world. It is beautiful to be part of the rights struggle. Hope to be in solidarity forever.” (SCF with turkishminute.com) July 10, 2017

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