Turkey: Release and ongoing judicial harassment of Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Erol Önderoğlu and Ahmet Nesin

05/07/2016
Urgent Appeal

New information
TUR 004 / 0616 / OBS 049.1
Release /
Judicial harassment
Turkey
July 5, 2016

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

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the release and ongoing judicial harassment of 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.

According to the information received, on June 30, 2016, the 13th High Criminal Court ordered the provisional release of Ms. Fincancı and Mr. Önderoğlu. On July 1, 2016, the 14th Heavy Penal Court ordered the provisional release of Mr. Ahmet Nesin. They remain charged with “making terror propaganda” under Article 7/2 of the Anti Terror Law, and their first court hearing will be held on November 8, 2016. The 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 newspaper and to defend the freedom of press in Turkey against the harassment of, and investigations against, its journalists [1].

The Observatory welcomes the release of Ms. Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Mr. Erol Önderoğlu and Mr. Ahmet Nesin but deplores their continuing judicial harassment, which seems to merely aim at sanctioning their human rights activities.

The Observatory calls upon the Turkish authorities to drop all the charges against them and, in the meantime, to ensure that all judicial proceeding against them are carried out in full compliance with their right to a fair trial, as protected under international law.

Background information:

On June 20, 2016, the 1st High Court of Peace in Istanbul ordered the detention of Ms. Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Mr. Ahmet Nesin and Mr. Erol Önderoğlu, pending an investigation into their alleged involvement in the propaganda of terrorism. The human rights defenders presented themselves after they had received arrest warrants, and were referred to the 1st High Court of Peace after testifying before the Prosecutor on Terror and Organised Crime at the Istanbul Court House in Çağlayan earlier that day, under accusations of “making terror propaganda” (Article 7/2 of the Anti Terror Law). Ms. Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Mr. Ahmet Nesin and Mr. Erol Önderoğlu were questioned in relation to their participation in the “Editor-in-chief on Duty” campaign launched in early May 2016 in solidarity with the Özgür Gündem newspaper.

Ms. Fincancı was detained at Bakırköy Women Closed Prison, while Messrs. Önderoğlu and Nesin were held in Metris Prison in Istanbul.

Actions requested:

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

i. Drop all the charges against Ms. Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Mr. Erol Önderoğlu and Mr. Ahmet Nesin and, in the meantime, ensure that any judicial proceedings against them is carried out in full compliance with the defendants’ right to a fair trial, as protected under international law;

ii. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of all human rights defenders in Turkey, including Ms. Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Mr. Erol Önderoğlu and Mr. Ahmet Nesin;

iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including the judicial level, against all human rights defenders in Turkey so that they are able to carry out their work without hindrance or fear of reprisals;

iv. Put an end to the ongoing 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 obligations;

v. Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular its Articles 1, 12.1 and 12.2;

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, Mr. Tayyip Erdoğan, Fax: (+90 312) 525 58 31, E-mail: contact@tccb.gov.tr
· Prime Minister of Turkey, Mr. Ahmet Davutoglu; Fax: +90 (312) 403 62 82
· Minister of Justice, Mr. Bekir Bozdağ, Fax: +90 (0312) 419 33 70; E-mail: info@adalet.gov.tr
· Minister of Interior, Mr. Efkan Ala; 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, Fax: + 32 2 511 04 50
· Ambassador Mehmet Ferden Çarikçi, Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations in Geneva, 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.

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