Turkey detains 9 human rights advocates including AI director

Police detained nine human rights advocates including Amnesty International Turkey Director İdil Eser at a hotel on Büyükada, one of İstanbul’s nine islands in the Sea of Marmara.

Turkish police, acting on an anonymous tip, raided the hotel and detained Nalan Erkem and Özlem Dalkıran from the Allegiance Association, İlknur Üstün from the Women’s Coalition, Eser and Veli Acı from Amnesty International, Günal Kurşun from the Human Rights Association, Nejat Taştan from the Observation for Equal Rights Association, activist Şeyhmus Özbekli and activist Ali Garawi.

The whereabouts of the detainees are currently unknown.

Taner Kılıç, a lawyer and chairman of Amnesty International Turkey’s board, was arrested by an İzmir court on June 9 as part of an investigation into the faith-based Gülen movement.

Amnesty International Turkey Office has made a statement regarding human rights defenders including Amnesty International Turkey Director İdil Eser being taken into custody in a raid while holding a workshop yesterday (July 5) in Büyükada in İstanbul and demanded release of the detainees.

In its statement, the organization reported that the detainees were not being allowed to meet anyone.

Amnesty International Turkey Director İdil Eser was taken into custody yesterday together with seven other human rights advocates and two trainers during a workshop on digital security and information management.

Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty making a statement on the issue said: “We are profoundly disturbed and outraged that some of Turkey’s leading human rights defenders, including the Director of Amnesty International Turkey should have been detained so blatantly without cause.

“This is a grotesque abuse of power and highlights the precarious situation facing human rights activists in the country. İdil Eser and those detained with her, must be immediately and unconditionally released.

“Her incommunicado detention and that of the other human rights defenders attending a routine training event, is a grotesque abuse of power and highlights the precarious situation facing human rights activists in the country. Idil Eser and those detained with her, must be immediately and unconditionally released.

“World leaders currently sitting in Hamburg have been remarkably tolerant of Turkey’s human rights meltdown. With President Erdoğan now in their midst, this would be a good time to speak out firmly and call for the release of all human rights defenders currently behind bars.”

Amnesty International giving information on the current situation of the detainees stated that the whereabouts of İdil Eser and the others detained alongside her were still unknown and added:

“İdil Eser and the other detainees, are understood to have been denied access to lawyers, which police are entitled to do for 24 hours, and the right to contact a family member, which must be granted immediately.

“Police have told lawyers that they will be given information at 2.30pm today (July 6).

“These detentions come less than a month after Amnesty International’s Turkey chair, Taner Kılıç, was remanded in prison custody on baseless charges.”

July 6, 2017

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