Urgent Interventions

Arrest of human rights defender Osman Isci


TURKEY: Human rights defender Osman Işçimust be immediately released

Copenhagen, Paris, Geneva, 25 June 2012

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network(EMHRN) and the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, ajoint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and theWorld Organisation against Torture (OMCT), express their deepest concernregarding the arbitrary arrest and detention of Mr. Osman Işçi, as well as theissuing of arrest warrants against 72 trade unionists.

According to the information received, Mr. Osman Işçi,member of the Human Rights Association (İHD), and EMHRN Executive Committeemember, was arrested at his home in the Ankara Province in themorning of 25 June 2012 by theanti-terrorist police forces, and brought to the Security Directorate in Ankara. Policeofficers said his arrest was part of vast anti-terrorist operations intended todismantle an alleged terrorist network - the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) -an organisation said by the authorities to be the “urban branch” of the armedKurdistan Workers Party (PKK). These operations that started in 2009 have infact been targeting mostly peaceful Kurdish and pro-Kurdish activists.

It is also reported that 56 trade unionistshave also been detained, of which 3 were released by the police for health reasons. 53 currently remain in custody and other 2 people are being sought by thepolice for questioning.Police teams have been raiding the homes of 71 members of trade unions, as well as theheadquarters of KESK, the Egitim-Sen (Education and Science Worker's Union),SES (The Trade Union of Public Employees in Health and Social Services), BTS(United Trade Union of Transport Employees) and other branches of these tradeunions in Ankara,Diyarbakır, İstanbul, Ağrı, Bitlis, Siirt, Adana, Eskişehir Provinces.

Mr. Işçi is a well-known humanrights activist and has focused in particular on minority rights and freedom ofassociation and expression. He is also a member of a trade union affiliated tothe KESK.

Mr. Işçi and the other activists areexpected to be presented before the public prosecutor on 27 or 28 June. Theprosecutor will then decide to release them or to keep them in detention,pending the end of the investigation.

Our organisations denounce the continuingpolicy of arbitrary detention and judicial harassment targeting human rightsdefenders in Turkey, particularly İHD members, membersof trade unions, lawyers and journalists, who have been involved in advocatingfor a peaceful resolution of the Kurdish issue.

We recall that 12 other İHD members have long been suffering judicialharassment and are currently in pre-trial detention: Messrs. Muharrem Erbeyand Arslan Özdemir, Diyarbakır Branch Executives; Messrs. Şerif Sürenand Orhan Çiçek, Aydın Branch Executives; Ms. Zana Aksu, Messrs. Reşit Teymur andMuhsin Beydoğan, Siirt Branch Executives; Mr. Abdulkadir Çurğatay and Ms. Veysi Parıltı, Mardin Branch Executives; Doğubeyazıt Representative Şaziye Önder,Muş former Branch Chairperson Mensur Işık and Malatya Executive HikmetKapancı.

Ourorganisations urge the authorities to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychologicalintegrity of Mr. Osman Işçi, as well as all other human rights defendersdetained;

ii. Release Mr. Osman Işçi, as well as all other human rights defenders,immediately and unconditionally since their detention is arbitrary as it onlyaims at sanctioning their human rights activities;

iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judiciallevel, against Mr. Osman Işçi, as well as against all other members of İHD and trade unions and, more generally,all human rights defenders in Turkey;

iv. Comply with the provisions of the United Nations Declaration onHuman Rights Defenders, especially its Article 1, which states that “everyonehas the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and tostrive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamentalfreedoms at the national and international levels”, as well as Article 12.2,which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure theprotection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and inassociation with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de factoor de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as aconsequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in thepresent Declaration”;

v. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for humanrights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international and regionalhuman rights instruments ratified by Turkey.


EMHRN: Hayet Zeghiche: +32 2 503 06 86

FIDH: Karine Appy / Arthur Manet: + 33 1 43 55 2518

OMCT: Isabelle Scherer: + 41 22 809 49 39