There is no sense to the arrest of 10 human rights defenders in Turkey. Training workshops are routine and essential components of the work that human rights defenders do, in Turkey and around the world.
IFEX strongly condemns yesterday’s decision by Turkish prosecutors to lay charges against ten human rights defenders detained by police during a training workshop on Büyükada island on 2 July.
Six of the ten are being held in pre-trial detention: Özlem Dalkıran of Helsinki Citizen’s Assembly, İdil Eser, Director of Amnesty International-Turkey; Günal Kurşun and Veli Acu of Human Rights Agenda Association; Ali Gharavi, Swedish citizen and IT consultant, and Peter Steudtner, German citizen and IT consultant. Four more have been charged but released on bail – Nalan Erkem and Şeyhmuz Özbekli of Helsinki Citizen’s Assembly, İlknur Üstün of Women’s Coalition, and Nejat Taştan of the Association for Monitoring Equal Rights.
Workshops of this kind on information, stress and trauma management are routine and essential components of the work that human rights defenders do, in Turkey and around the world. They are absolutely essential to enabling our colleagues to protect the testimony and personal information of victims and witnesses of human rights violations.
The IFEX network has been privileged to work with the trainers Peter Steudtner and Ali Gharavi for many years. Our network has benefited first hand from their professional and generous support of our work, helping to build the knowledge and capacity of our members across several continents.
There is no sense to these arrests. We call on Turkey to demonstrate their commitment to human rights by immediately dismissing these groundless charges against all ten human rights defenders and release them.