Turkey : Assassination of Prominent Lawyer Tahir Elçi

Press release
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FIDH International Board (IB) members, meeting in Paris on November 28, 2015, strongly condemn the killing of prominent lawyer Tahir Elci in Turkey.

Tahir Elci, the president of the Bar Association in south-east Diyarbakir province and member of IHD, FIDH member organisation, has been killed by unidentified men in a gun attack following a press meeting on the clashes in Sur. One policeman was also shot dead.

Tahir Elci was a well-known campaigner for the respect of human rights, including the rights of Kurdish people. He was detained on October 19 after he stated in the media that Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) should not be considered as a terrorist organisation, although he denounced PKK violence. He was subsequently released on probation on October 20 and had been awaiting trial.

The assassination of Tahir Elci takes place against the backdrop of the deteriorating situation in Turkey. A strong security offensive launched by the authorities over the past three months on the pretext of countering terrorism has led to escalating violence between the army and PKK members and to grave violations of the right to life, severe limitations to the right to freedom of assembly and expression, a crackdown on independent media and repressive actions targeting human rights organisations and activists.

The FIDH IB members call for an independent and full investigation on the killing of Tahir Elci in order to prosecute and judge the perpetrators of this crime. FIDH and the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network will organise a joint mission in Turkey in December 2015 to express their solidarity with Human rights NGOs and victims of human rights violations.

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