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Turkey
26.03.21
Urgent Interventions

Turkey: Arbitrary detention and subsequent release of İHD Co-Chairperson Mr. Öztürk Türkdoğan

URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY

TUR 002 / 0321 / OBS 039
Arbitrary detention /
Judicial harassment /
Release
Turkey
March 26, 2021

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, requests your intervention in the following situation in Turkey.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed about the arbitrary detention and subsequent release of Mr. Öztürk Türkdoğan, a prominent human rights lawyer and Co-Chairperson of the Human Rights Association (İnsan Hakları Derneği – İHD).

On March 19, 2021, early in the morning, police officers raided the house of Mr. Türkdoğan in Ankara, and he was taken into police custody within the scope of an investigation conducted by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. At the prosecutor’s office, Mr. Türkdoğan was informed that he was being investigated on charges of “membership to an illegal armed organisation” (Article 314/2 of the Criminal Code). The prosecutor asked Mr. Türkdoğan questions related to several statements he had made to the press in his capacity as İHD’s Co-Chairperson, as well as to his phone conversations with international organisations, members of the parliament, state officials and international delegations.

On the same day in the evening, Mr. Öztürk Türkdoğan was released under judicial control, pending investigation. He will have to present himself twice a month to his local police station to sign a document. Furthermore, Mr. Türkdoğan was imposed an international travel ban by the prosecutor’s office on March 20, 2021.

The Observatory recalls that İHD and its members have been subjected to judicial harassment and intimidations by the authorities for years because of their peaceful human rights activities and exercise of freedom of expression and association, including the sentencing of Ms. Eren Keskin, Co-President of the İHD, and the recent threats and acts of stigmatisation against the organisation.

The Observatory strongly condemns the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Mr. Öztürk Türkdoğan and urges the Turkish authorities to immediately and unconditionally put an end to all acts of harassment against him, including at the judicial level.

The Observatory further urges the authorities in Turkey to put an end to the targeting of İHD and all human rights defenders and organisations in the country. The Observatory more generally calls on the authorities to ensure that all human rights organisations and human rights defenders in Turkey are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions, including judicial harassment.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Turkey asking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Mr. Öztürk Türkdoğan and of all human rights defenders in Turkey;

ii. Put an end to all acts of harassment - including at the judicial level – against Mr. Öztürk Türkdoğan and all other human rights defenders in Turkey, as well as against the Human Rights Association and all organisations engaged in legitimate human rights activities in Turkey, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance and fear of reprisals.

Addresses:

Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Turkey in your respective country.

***

Geneva-Paris, March 26, 2021

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

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