July 14, 2017
A group of United Nations experts on Friday called on the Turkish government to immediately release nine human rights defenders and two foreign trainers who are being questioned over alleged membership in a terrorist organization.
Turkish police, acting on an anonymous tip, last week raided a hotel on Büyükada, one of the Princes’ Islands off İstanbul, and detained İdil Eser from Amnesty International, İlknur Üstün from the Women’s Coalition, lawyer Günal Kurşun from the Human Rights Agenda Association, lawyer Nalan Erkem from the Citizens Assembly, Nejat Taştan from the Equal Rights Watch Association, Özlem Dalkıran from the Citizens’ Assembly, lawyer Şeyhmuz Özbekli, and Veli Acu from the Human Rights Agenda Association.
Two foreign trainers — Ali Gharawi of Sweden and Peter Steudtner of Germany — as well as the hotel owner, who was later released, were also detained.
“The arrest of these human rights defenders, including prominent figures, is a further illustration of the witch-hunt taking place in Turkey,” the experts said in a joint statement posted on the website of the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner.
“They are among thousands of people currently in detention on terrorism charges, along with political activists, lawyers, journalists and others critical of government policy.”