Turkey: Police raid of the offices of the Siirt branch of the Human Rights Association (İHD) and arbitrary detention of Messrs. Zana Aksu, Azat Taş and Mirza Ekin

01/10/2015
Urgent Appeal
en fa

TUR 001 / 1015 / OBS 081
Arbitrary detention /
judicial harassment
Turkey
October 1, 2015

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.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by the Human Rights Association (İHD) about the police raid of the offices of its Siirt branch and the arbitrary detentions of İHD’s Siirt branch Chairperson Mr. Zana Aksu, as well as İHD managers Messrs. Azat Taş and Mirza Ekin.

According to the information received, on September 30, 2015, a police operation was launched against Kurdish political parties and non-governmental organizations in Siirt province in southeastern Turkey. The operations resulted in the arrest of at least ten people, including İHD human rights defenders Messrs. Zana Aksu, Azat Taş and Mirza Ekin, together with journalists and members of the Kurdish political party Democratic Regions Party (DBP). The three human rights defenders were arrested under the Anti-Terrorism Law (Law 3713 of April 1991) and are currently held in custody at the anti-terror branch office in Siirt Security Directorate. Moreover, during the illegal raid, the police confiscated books, reports and other documents, as well as computers belonging to İHD.

The Observatory recalls that this new wave of arbitrary arrests and detentions is part of a wide-range anti-terrorism operation, started in late July 2015 under the pretext of countering terrorism. However, the operation turned into a massive crackdown on some civil society organisations depicted as “terrorist networks”. This campaign has been targeting dozens of peaceful activists who have been involved in the monitoring of human rights violations resulting from anti-terrorism operations and advocating for a peaceful resolution of the Kurdish issue. These peaceful activists include human rights defenders, particularly IHD members, lawyers, political party representatives and journalists [1].

The Observatory calls upon the Turkish authorities to put an end to the continuing harassment of human rights defenders, and particularly İHD members, and urges the Turkish authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Messrs. Zana Aksu, Azat Taş and Mirza Ekin and all human rights defenders currently held in detention and drop all charges against them, since their detention is arbitrary as it only aims at sanctioning their human rights activities.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities in Turkey, urging them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Messrs. Zana Aksu, Azat Taş and Mirza Ekin as well as all human rights defenders in Turkey;

ii. Release Messrs. Zana Aksu, Azat Taş and Mirza Ekin immediately and unconditionally, as well as all other human rights defenders currently in detention, and drop all charges against them since their detention is arbitrary as it only aims at curtailing their human rights activities;

iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Messrs. Zana Aksu, Azat Taş and Mirza Ekin and other İHD members and all human rights defenders in Turkey;

iv. Put an end to the crackdown on civil society under the pretext of countering terrorism and 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, in particular with:

- its Article 1, which provides that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”;
- its Article 6(a), which foresees that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to participate in peaceful activities against violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms”;
- its Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

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.

Addresses:

· President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Cumhurbaşkanlığı Külliyesi 06560 Beştepe-Ankara, Tel: (+90 312) 525 55 55, Fax: (+90 312) 525 58 31, E-mail: contact@tccb.gov.tr
· Prime Minister of Turkey Ahmet Davutoglu tel: (0312) 422 10 00 ; Fax: +90 (312) 403 62 82
· Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Feridun H. Sinirlioğlu, No: 8 Balgat / Ankara - Turkey 06100; Tel : +90 (312) 292 10 00
· Minister of Justice, Mr. Kenan Ipek, 06659 Kizilay, Ankara; Tel: +90 (312) 417 77 70; Fax: +90 (0312) 419 33 70; E-mail: info@adalet.gov.tr
· Minister of Interior, Mr. Selami Altınok; tel: +90 (312) 422 40 00; Fax: +90 (312) 425 61 30; Email: ozelkalem@icisleri.gov.tr
· Ambassador Izzet Selim Yenel, Diplomatic Mission of Turkey to the European Union in Brussels, Avenue des Arts 36-38, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium; Fax: + 32 2 511 04 50
· Ambassador Mehmet Ferden Çarikçi, Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations in Geneva, Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 28B 1211 Geneva 19, Tel: +41 22 918 50 80; Fax: +41 22 734 08 59; Email: mission.turkey@ties.itu.int

Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of Turkey in your respective country.

Paris-Geneva, October 1, 2015

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.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
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