Detained Human Rights Activists Face Charges in Turkey

Southeast Europe | July 18, 2017, Tuesday // 14:52|  views

Ten Turkish human rights activists who were detained by police while attending a training workshop appeared before court officials in Istanbul on Monday to face possible charges or be released from custody, according to ABC News.

The activists, including Amnesty International's Turkey director Idil Eser, were detained earlier this month at a hotel on Buyukada island off Istanbul and questioned by anti-terrorism police.

Amnesty said the group was being investigated for membership in an armed terrorist organization. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made vague accusations against the 10, saying they were holding a meeting that had the "nature of a continuation" of last year's failed coup attempt.

Amnesty has called for their release and said their case is a test for Turkey's judiciary.

"Turkey will be disgraced in the eyes of world if these human rights defenders are put in prison for defending human rights," Andrew Gardner, Amnesty's Turkey researcher, told a group of reporters outside the courthouse.

Other than Amnesty, the activists are members of the Women's coalition, the Helsinki Citizens Assembly, the Human Rights' Agenda Association, the Association to Monitor Equal Rights and the Rights Initiative. Their two trainers — a German and a Swede — were also detained.

Turkey has blamed the July 15, 2016, failed coup on followers of U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen and has branded his movement a terror organization.

The country declared a state of emergency days after the coup and launched a massive crackdown, arresting about 50,000 people and dismissing more than 100,000 from government jobs. The crackdown initially focused on people with suspected ties to the alleged coup plotters, but has been extended to include politicians, journalists and activists.

Turkey's parliament on Monday voted to extend the state of emergency, which was due to expire on July 19, by a further three months. Erdogan has said the state of emergency would be regularly extended until tranquility is restored.

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Tags: amnesty, victims, turkey, Recep Erdogan, Association to Monitor Equal Rights and the Rights Initiative, Helsinki Citizens Assembly, human rights


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