Arbitrary detention of Mr. Ethem Açikalin- TUR 001 / 0108 / OBS 011

Urgent Appeal

The Observatory has been informed by the Human Rights Association (İnsan Haklari Derneği - IHD) about the arbitrary arrest of Mr. Ethem Açıkalın, Chairperson of the IHD branch in Adana.

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

Description of the situation:

According to the information received, on January 23, 2008, Mr. Ethem Açıkalın was arrested in Adana and accused of "being a member of an illegal organisation" (Article 314 of the Turkish Penal Code, with reference to Article 220/6 of the Penal Code in the Turkish Law N° 5237) and "making propaganda of an illegal organisation" (Article 7/2 of the Anti Terror Law N° 3713).

These charges are related to Mr. Ethem Açıkalın’s participation in a press conference organised on December 17, 2007 by the Front for Rights and Freedoms of Adana (Adana Haklar ve Özgürlükler Cephesi) in order to denounce the assassination on December 10, 2007 of Ms. Kevser Mızrak, reportedly a member of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (Devrimci Halk Kurtulus Partisi - Cephesi - DHKP-C), in Ankara. Ms. Mızrak was allegedly killed by police forces. During the press conference, a document was read, denouncing extrajudicial executions and calling upon the security forces to prevent such human rights violations.

As of issuing this urgent appeal, Mr. Açıkalın is detained at the F-Type Prison in Adana. He was accused of being a member of the DHKP-C (on the basis of Article 314 of the Turkish Penal Code), along with six other opponents who were also arrested on January 23, 2008, and faces from one to seven years and a half in prison.

The Observatory expresses its deepest concern about Mr. Ethem Açıkalın’s arbitrary detention, which seems to merely aim at sanctioning his human rights activities, and recalls that as a Participating State of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Turkey acknowledges that "the [...] UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders [... places] a responsibility [...] on states to adopt and implement adequate legislation and administrative procedures that would provide for a conducive environment for human rights defenders to promote and strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels", and recognises "the need for particular attention, support and protection for human rights defenders by the OSCE, its Institutions and field operations, as well as by participating States" [1].

Actions required:

Please write to the Turkish authorities, urging them to:

i.Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Ethem Açıkalın;

ii.Release immediately Mr. Ethem Açıkalın, as his detention is arbitrary as it seems to merely aim at sanctioning his human rights activities;

iii.Put an end to all acts harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Ethem Açıkalın and all human rights defenders in Turkey;

iv.Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly on December 9, 1998, especially its Article 1, which states that "everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels", as well as 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";

v.More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Turkey.


President of Turkey, Mr. Abdullah Gül, Cumhurbaskanligi 06100 Ankara, Turkey; Fax: +90 312 468 5026; Email:
Prime Minister, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Office of the Prime Minister Basbakanlik 06573 Ankara, Turkey, Fax: + 90 312 417 0476;
Deputy Prime Minister and State Minister for Humman Rights, Mr. Cemil Çiçek Fax: 00 90 312 417 42 06
Interior Minister, Mr. Beşir Atalay, Ministry of Interior, Içisleri Bakanligi, 06644 Ankara, Turkey; Fax: + 90 312 418 17 95 / +90 312 418 7696,
Justice Minister, Mr. Mehmet Ali Şahin, Ministry of Justice/ Adalet Bakanligi, 06659 Ankara, Turkey; Fax: + 90 312 414 62 26
Foreign Minister and State Minister for Human Rights, Mr. Ali Babacan, Office of the Prime Minister, Basbakanlik, 06573 Ankara, Turkey; Fax: +90 312 287 88 11
Governor of Adana, Mr. İlhan Atış, Governorship of Adana, Mücahitler Cad. Yeni Valilik Binası Pk: 01330 Seyhan/Adana, Turkey, Fax: + 90 322 458 83 51. E-mail:
Ambassador, Mr. Ahmet Üzümcü, Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations in Geneva, Ch. du Petit-Saconnex 28b - CP 271, CH-1211, Geneva 19, Switzerland, E-mail :, Fax: +41 22 734 08 59
Diplomatic Mission of Turkey to the European Union in Brussels, avenue Louis Lepoutre, 99, 1050 Ixelles, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 340 98 79.

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

Geneva - Paris, January 28, 2008

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

The Observatory, a 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.

The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
Tel and fax: FIDH : +33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 / 33 1 43 55 18 80
Tel and fax: OMCT : + 41 22 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29
E-mail :

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