August 12, 2017
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme between the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) has urged Turkey to release jailed human rights defenders in the country. The Observatory urges Turkish authorities to immediately and unconditionally release these people and put an end to all forms of harassment against them, read a statement released by the Observatory on Saturday.
Acting on an anonymous tip Turkish police raided a hotel on Büyükada, one of the Princes’ Islands off İstanbul on July 5, 2017, 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 Şeyhmus Özbekli, Veli Acu from the Human Rights Agenda Association and two foreign trainers, Ali Garawi and Peter Steudtner.
After interrogation at the anti-terror branch of the İstanbul Police Department, on July 17, the 12th day of their detention, the 10 human rights defenders, who are accused of membership in a terrorist organization, were referred to the İstanbul Courthouse. Six of the activists were subsequently arrested, while the court decided to release four of them on judicial probation. On July 21 İstanbul’s Adalar Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants for the four human rights defenders, including Taştan and Özbekli, who were released by the court.