Turkey: Arbitrary detention of Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu

22/04/2021
Urgent Appeal
en tr
Credit: TuruncuDemlik

TUR 003 / 0421 / OBS 050
Arbitrary detention /
Judicial harassment
Turkey
April 22, 2021

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Turkey.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed about the arbitrary detention of Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a long-standing human rights defender, former president of the Association for Human Rights and Solidarity for the Oppressed (MAZLUMDER) [1], doctor and columnist. Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu served as a Member of Parliament from 2018 until March 2021, when his seat was revoked.

On April 2, 2021, Mr. Gergerlioğlu was detained to serve the two and a half years prison sentence that he received for allegedly making “terrorist propaganda” through a social media post in 2016 in which he advocated for peace by commenting a news story that reported a call by the PKK [2] (Kurdistan Labour Party) on the authorities to take a step towards peace as well as the reply by the then speaker of the parliament and former Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Bülent Arınç. It is relevant to note that the news story remains accessible and to this date no judicial action has been undertaken targeting the article itself.

The Observatory recalls that on February 21, 2018, Mr. Gergerlioğlu was convicted for "terrorist propaganda" and sentenced to two and a half years in prison by the Kocaeli 2nd High Penal Court. On February 19, 2021, his conviction was upheld by the Court of Cassation of Turkey, and on March 17, 2021, he was stripped of his parliamentary seat. While he was convicted for his social media post sharing a news article, the original news article has not been incriminated, which raises strong doubts about his conviction being politically motivated.

Mr. Gergerlioğlu is a long-standing human rights defender, and since he was elected to Parliament in 2018, he has continuously advocated for the human rights of various individuals, including those who survived torture and ill-treatment by security officials as well as the civil servants dismissed from their posts by the emergency decrees on their alleged “ties with terrorist organisations.” Recently, he brought the practice of strip searches of women in custody to the attention of the Parliament, but the allegations were repeatedly denied by the representatives of the ruling Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi - AKP).

The Observatory further recalls that, Mr. Gergerlioğlu was dismissed from his post in the public sector as a doctor, by a decree issued under the state of emergency on January 7, 2017.

The Observatory strongly condemns the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğluand urges the Turkish authorities to immediately and unconditionally release him and to put an end to all acts of harassment against him, including at the judicial level.The Observatory considers that Mr. Gergerlioğlu’sconviction is a clear violation of his freedom of expression and his right to defend human rights, as well as of his right to political participation and representation.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Turkey asking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Mr. Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğluand of all human rights defenders in Turkey;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu as his detention is arbitrary and merely aimed at punishing him for his human rights activities;

iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment –including at the judicial level– againstMr. Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğluand all other human rights defenders in Turkey, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate activities without any hindrance and fear of reprisals.

Addresses:

· President of the Republic of Turkey, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Email: contact@tccb.gov.tr
· Minister of Justice, Mr. Abdülhamit Gül. Email: info@adalet.gov.tr .
· Minister of Interior, Mr. Süleyman Soylu. Email: diab@icisleri.gov.tr ; sti@icisleri.gov.tr
· Ambassador Mr. Mehmet Kemal Bozay, Diplomatic Mission of Turkey to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium. Email: info@turkdeleg.org; tr-delegation.eu@mfa.gov.tr
· Ambassador Mr. Sadık Arslan, Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Email: turkey.unog@mfa.gov.tr

Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Turkey in your respective country.

***
Paris-Geneva, April 22, 2021

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
· Tel FIDH: + 33 1 43 55 25 18
· Tel OMCT: + 41 22 809 49 39

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