Turkish prosecution of arrested human rights defenders and trainers is outrageous

July 18, 2017

Hivos strongly condemns the charge

Early this morning, eight human rights defenders, including the director of Amnesty International Turkey, and two trainers arrested on 5 July in Istanbul during a Hivos-funded online security and information management training, were officially charged with assisting a terrorist organisation by the Turkish authorities. The charge states, without grounds, that they have provided assistance to a terrorist organisation. While four of the ten human rights defenders were released on bail, the Turkish authorities ordered pre-trial detention for the two trainers along with four Turkish human rights defenders.

Hivos is shocked by the charge. “These people, both the human rights defenders and the trainers, all work for freedom of speech. That they are now charged with assisting a terrorist organisation is appalling and a great injustice,” states Edwin Huizing, executive director of Hivos.

Amnesty International and Hivos call on the Dutch government and the European Commission to condemn this course of action, urge the Turkish authorities to immediately withdraw this charge and demand the unconditional release of the six still in detention.

The human rights defenders and trainers are victims of the willfulness of the Turkish regime, which is using last year’s failed coup as a pretext to silence political opponents, ban media and trample on constitutional rights. Now, even prominent human rights defenders and external consultants, who stand for an open and fair society with freedom of expression, are targets of this crackdown.

Edwin Huizing adds: “It is disturbing that the judiciary in Turkey does not immediately reject the blatantly false charge as being unfounded. This casts doubts about its impartiality. Unconditional release is the only right decision.”

Tell Turkey to release the detainees

We ask all those who are as appalled as we are by the arbitrary detention of the human rights defenders and Hivos trainers to demand their immediate and unconditional release. Please send a message using the page set up by Amnesty International, allowing your voice to be heard by the Turkish authorities.