The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Turkey.
Brief description of the situation:
According to the information received, on June 20, 2016, Ms. Şebnem Korur Fincancı, President of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT), Mr. Erol Önderoğlu, Turkey Representative of Reporters Without Borders (RWB), and Mr. Ahmet Nesin, journalist, appeared before the Prosecutor on Terror and Organised Crime, at the Istanbul Court House in Çağlayan, under accusations of “making terror propaganda” (Article 7/2 of the Anti Terror Law).
The Prosecutor subsequently referred them to the 1st Magistrate Judge of the First Criminal Court of Peace, who formally indicted them under the same accusations of “making terror propaganda”. These charges seem to relate to the participation of the three human rights defenders in the “Editor-in-chief on Duty” campaign, launched in early May 2016 in solidarity with the Özgür Gündem newspaper1.
As of issuing this Urgent Appeal, Ms. Fincancı remained detained at Bakırköy Women Closed Prison, while Messrs. Önderoğlu and Nesin were held in Metris Prison in Istanbul.
The Observatory deplores the judicial harassment and arbitrary detention of Ms. Fincancı, Mr. Önderoğlu and Mr. Nesin, which seem to merely aim at sanctioning their human rights activities. The Observatory calls upon the Turkish authorities to release them immediately and unconditionally, and to put an end to the ongoing harassment, including at judicial level, against them and more in general against all human rights defenders in the country.
Please write to the authorities in Turkey, urging them to:
i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Mr. Erol Önderoğlu and Mr. Ahmet Nesin as well as of all human rights defenders in Turkey;
ii. Release Ms. Fincancı, Mr. Önderoğlu and Mr. Nesin immediately and unconditionally, as their detention is arbitrary since it only aims at sanctioning their legitimate human rights activities;
iii. Put an end to all forms of harassment, including at judicial level, against Ms. Fincancı, Mr. Önderoğlu and Mr. Nesin, as well as all human rights defenders in Turkey;
iv. Put an end to the crackdown on civil society under the pretext of countering terrorism and publicly recognise the legitimate role of human rights defenders in line with Turkey’s international commitments;
v. Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders
vi. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Turkey.
President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Fax: (+90 312) 525 58 31, E-mail: email@example.com
Prime Minister of Turkey, Mr. Binali Yildirim, Fax: +90 (312) 403 62 82. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Minister of Justice, Mr. Bekir Bozdağ, Fax: +90 (0312) 419 33 70; E-mail: email@example.com
Minister of Interior, Mr. Efkan Ala; Fax: +90 (312) 425 61 30; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ambassador Izzet Selim Yenel, Diplomatic Mission of Turkey to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium; Fax: + 32 2 511 04 50
Ambassador Mehmet Ferden Çarikçi, Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 734 08 59; Email: email@example.com
Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of Turkey in your respective country.
Paris-Geneva, June 21, 2016
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
The Observatory, an FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of human rights defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.