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Turkey
10.07.17
Urgent Interventions

Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy


On 5 July 2017, ten participants in a human rights trainingmeeting were detained at Büyükada, one of the Princes' Islands near İstanbul,Turkey. The group consisted of eight representatives of Turkish civil societyorganisations working on human rights and two foreign consultants on digitalsecurity and information management. By the afternoon of July 6, the lawyers ofthe detained persons learned that their clients are being investigated formembership of an armed organization, a terrorist offense, and will stay ininvestigative detention initially for seven days.

The undersigned organisations, national and internationalhuman rights NGOs from the OSCE region, members of the Civic SolidarityPlatform, strongly reject this operation by the Turkish authorities. We appealfor the immediate and unconditional release of the detained persons,participants in a peaceful meeting to advance human rights. Human rights workshould not be criminalized. Civil society work for human rights is an importantcontribution to a healthy society. Holding a meeting on human rights is not aterrorist conspiracy.

The Turkish citizens arrested are Özlem Dalkıran (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), lawyer Nalan Erkem (Helsinki Citizens’Assembly), İlknur Üstün (Women’sCoalition), İdil Eser (AmnestyInternational Turkey director), Veli Acu(Human Rights Agenda Association), lawyer GünalKurşun (Human Rights Agenda Association), Şeymus Özbekli (Rights Initiative), and Nejat Taştan (Equal Rights Watch Association). The two consultantsare Ali Gharawi, from Sweden, and Peter Steudtner, from Germany.

In the past years, human rights defenders have on severaloccasions been targeted by governmental repression. This latest attack on humanrights defenders comes amidst a wave of repression after the failed coupattempt of 15 July 2016 which has affected a much wider group of persons thanthose who may have been directly involved in the coup attempt, includingjournalists, lawyers and politicians. Only last month, Taner Kiliç, thepresident of Amnesty International Turkey, was arrested together with 22 otherlawyers.

1. Article 19(international, London)

2. Associationof Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors on Law Enforcement

3. BarysZvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House

4. Bir Duino(Kyrgyzstan)

5. Center forCivil Liberties (Ukraine)

6. Centre forthe Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)

7. Center forParticipation and Development (Georgia)

8. DRA -German-Russian Exchange (Germany)

9. Fair Trials(international, London)

10. Golos Svobody(Kyrgyzstan)

11. HelsinkiCitizens Assembly Vanadzor (Armenia)

12. HelsinkiFoundation for Human Rights (Poland)

13. Human RightsCenter of Azerbaijan

14. Human RightsHouse Foundation (international, Oslo)

15. Human RightsInformation Center (Ukraine)

16. Human RightsMatter (Germany)

17. IDP WomenAssociation "Consent" (Georgia)

18. InternationalPartnership for Human Rights (international, Brussels)

19. InternationalRehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (international, Copenhagen)

20. Institutefor Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (Azerbaijan)

21. ItalianCoalition for Civil Liberties

22. KadyrKasiyet (“Dignity") (Kazakhstan)

23. KazakhstanInternational Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law

24. Kharkivregional foundation Public Alternative (Ukraine)

25. Legal PolicyResearch Center (Kazakhstan)

26. Libereco -Partnership for Human Rights (Germany)

27. MoscowHelsinki Group

28. NetherlandsHelsinki Committee

29. NorwegianHelsinki Committee

30. Office ofCivil Freedoms (Tajikistan)

31. Promo-LEX(Moldova)

32. Protectionof rights without borders (Armenia)

33. PublicVerdict (Russia)

34. RegionalCenter for Strategic Studies (Azerbaijan)

35. Solidarus(Germany)

36. SOVA Centerfor Information and Analysis (Russia)

37. SwissHelsinki Committee

38. UkrainianHelsinki Human Rights Union

39. Women’sInternational League for Peace and Freedom (Germany)

40. WorldOrganisation Against Torture (OMCT) (international, Geneva)

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