Rights lawyer attacked by member of far-right party after İstanbul bombing should be protected, says UN rapporteur

Jiyan Tosun

Mary Lawlor, the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights, said in a tweet on Wednesday that lawyer and Human Rights Association (İHD) member Jiyan Tosun, who was targeted by a far-right party member after a bombing in İstanbul on Sunday, should be protected by Turkish authorities.

A powerful explosion rocked the popular İstiklal shopping street in İstanbul on Sunday, killing six people and injuring 81. The Turkish government blamed the attack on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a group classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community. However, the PKK denied the accusations and said the group had nothing to do with the attack.

Tosun was targeted by Adem Taşkaya, a member of the far-right Zafer (Victory) Party, immediately after the bombing, who falsely claimed that Tosun was the perpetrator of the attack. Tosun said she and her family received dozens of death threats due to Taşkaya’s tweet, which said, “The perpetrator of the heinous attack in Taksim is a PKK lawyer named Jiyan Tosun.”

Taşkaya deleted his tweet a few minutes after he posted it, admitting that “the photo of the perpetrator was correct, but the information was false.”

Lawlor on Wednesday tweeted, “Deepest sympathies to all those impacted by horrific 13 Nov attack in Türkiye. I’m [very] concerned by reports of death threats to [women’s human rights defender] Jiyan Tosun & her family following totally false allegations of her involvement. Turkish officials should publicly correct the record & provide protection.”

 

Tosun went to court on Sunday evening to file a criminal complaint against Taşkaya and waited until morning at the courthouse because she did not feel safe due to the countless death threats she had received.

Taşkaya said he might apologize to Tosun and Keskin, stating, “Let’s wait until the attacks against me stop. I will write something. It is not just an attack against them. I’m in the same situation.”

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