Update on the situation of human rights defenders
12 July 2017
- Representatives of Human Rights Association and Citizens’ Assembly visited the Office of Istanbul Chief Prosecutor. The group met with the Deputy Istanbul Chief Prosecutor and presented him with an Information Sheet, jointly endorsed by a group of human rights organisations, containing all relevant information, including why the workshop was organised, the content of the workshop, and why the workshop took place on Büyükada. (This document can be accessed (only in Turkish) here: http://www.ihop.org.tr/2017/07/11/gozaltindaki-insan-haklari-savunuculari-ve-katildiklari-faaliyete-dair-bilgi-notu/ )
11 July 2017
- The 7 day detention period for human rights defenders was extended for 7 more days.
10 July 2017
- Late in the afternoon, police searched the houses of the human right defenders. Police confiscated some electronic materials, books and documents.
- 40 international human rights organization issued a joint declaration stating that, “Turkey: Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy”
(Available in English at: http://www.omct.org/human-rights-defenders/urgent-interventions/turkey/2017/07/d24442/ )
- Parliamentarian Şenal Sarıhan (People’s Republican Party) spoke with Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdağ on the phone. Sarıhan told the Minister that she personally knows many of the human rights defenders under detention and demanded their immediate release.
8 July 2017
- Several human rights groups issued a joint statement regarding the fake news published about the human rights defenders.
7 July 2017
- In the afternoon lawyers submitted their objections against the period of detention. As the investigation dossier is “confidential”, the lawyers are not able to access the investigation documents.
- All of the detained activists were taken to the Istanbul Police Headquarters.
6 July 2017
- Lawyers were able to visit all detained human rights defenders. In general, they were all in good psychical condition. Some of their needs (such as clothing, medicine etc) were delivered.
- The detention period for all of them was extended for 7 days. Under the State of Emergency the detention period can be extended for a total of 14 days.
- A group of human rights organizations from Turkey issued a joint statement demanding the immediate release of the human rights defenders. (Available at: http://www.hyd.org.tr/tr/haberler/222-insan-haklari-savunuculari-derhal-serbest-birakilmali )
5 July 2017
- On 2 July 2017, the following human rights activists convened for a five day workshop on “Protection of human rights defenders”, on Büyükada, İstanbul. The group consisted of Özlem Dalkıran (Citizens’ Assembly), lawyer Nalan Erkem (Citizens’ Assembly), İlknur Üstün (Women’s Coalition), İdil Eser (Amnesty International Turkey Director), Veli Acu (Human Rights Agenda Association), lawyer Günal Kurşun (Human Rights Agenda Association), Şeymus Özbekli (Rights Initiative), Nejat Taştan (Equal Rights Watch Association), Ali Gharavi (moderator — Swedish national), and Peter Steudtner (moderator — German national).
- On 5 July, in the morning hours, the police raided the workshop and detained all human rights defenders. All of their electronic equipment was confiscated. However digital images of the confiscated equipment were not taken by the police.
- The detentions became public by coincidence in the evening.
- The group was first taken to Büyükada Police Station. However 8 of the human rights defenders were transported to other police centers in the evening.
- Those under arrest were denied access to lawyers and their families. The State of Emergency Law in Turkey allows the authorities to deny the detainees’ right to see a lawyer for up to 24 hours.