Turkey must immediately release Aysel Tuğluk and other severely ill prisoners

Press release
Werner Bayer

On 20 January 2022, an urgent action letter signed by 43 bar associations and lawyers and human rights organizations from across the world and Turkey was submitted to the United Nations (UN) special mandate holders to call attention to the imminent risk to health and life of ill prisoner Aysel Tuğluk held in Kocaeli Kandıra F-Type Prison, Turkey since December 2016.

The letter is addressed to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders; the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right of Everyone to the Enjoyment of the Highest Attainable Standard of Physical and Mental Health, and the UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues.

Aysel Tuğluk is a Kurdish politician and human rights lawyer. She was arrested in December 2016 while serving as the co-chair of HDP, and sentenced to 10 years in prison on terrorism charges on the basis of her activities as a politician, public speeches she delivered and her attendance at funerals of PKK members. This is part of a pattern of judicial harassment of opposition politicians, and particularly HDP members, by Turkish authorities, which are politically motivated and aim to obstruct HDP’s legitimate activities.

Ms. Tuğluk has been diagnosed with dementia, and medical reports have demonstrated that she is not healthy enough to survive under the prison conditions in Kocaeli F-Type Prison. Her imprisonment continues even though her health is further deteriorating rapidly, and she is particularly vulnerable given the Covid-19 pandemic. Providing additional information on systemic issues concerning the treatment of prisoners in Turkey, the letter requests that the Special Procedures urge the Turkish government to immediately release Aysel Tuğluk and all severely ill prisoners in line with both domestic laws and international standards with regard to the treatment of prisoners.

Read more

  • Co-signatories

    AĞ-DA Toplumsal Cinsiyet Eşitliği Dayanışma Ağı (Gender Equality Solidarity Network), Turkey; Asociación Libre de Abogadas y Abogados, (Free Association of Lawyers, ALA), Madrid, Spain; Batman Barosu (Batman Bar Association), Turkey; Bingöl Barosu (Bingöl Bar Association), Turkey; Conseil national des barreaux (CNB), France; Çağdaş Hukukçular Derneği (Progressive Lawyers’ Association, ÇHD), Turkey; Dersim -Tunceli- Barosu (Dersim -Tunceli- Bar Association), Turkey; Diyarbakır Barosu (Diyarbakır Bar Association), Turkey; Düşünce Suçu(!?)na Karşı Girişim (Initiative for Freedom of Expression), Turkey; Eşit Haklar İçin İzleme Derneği (Association for Monitoring Equal Rights), Turkey; European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights (ELDH); European Democratic Lawyers (AED); Hak İnisiyatifi Derneği (the Rights Initiative), Turkey; Hakkari Barosu (Hakkari Bar Association), Turkey; Human Rights Committee of the German Bar Association (Deutscher Anwaltverein, DAV), Germany; Indian Association of Lawyers, India; İnsan Hakları Gündemi Derneği (Human Rights Agenda Association), Turkey; International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL); International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI); International Commission of Jurists (ICJ); International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH); International Observatory for Lawyers at Risk (OIAD); Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), Canada; London Legal Group, the United Kingdom; Mardin Barosu (Mardin Bar Association), Turkey; Medya ve Hukuk Çalışmaları Derneği (Media and Law Studies Association, MLSA), Turkey; Muş Barosu (Muş Bar Association), Turkey; National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), Philippines; Özgürlük için Hukukçular Derneği (Association of Lawyers for Freedom, ÖHD), Turkey; P24 (Platform for Independent Journalism), Turkey; Republikanischer Anwältinnen - und Anwälteverein e.V. (Republican Lawyers Association, RAV), Germany; Rosa Kadın Derneği (Rosa Women’s Association), Turkey; Siirt Barosu (Siirt Bar Association), Turkey; Syndicat des Avocats pour la Démocratie: le SAD, Belgium; Şanlıurfa Barosu (Şanlıurfa Bar Association), Turkey; Şırnak Barosu (Şırnak Bar Association), Turkey; The Center for Research and Elaboration on Democracy/ Group of International Legal Intervention (CRED/GIGI); The Italian Association of Democratic Lawyers (Giuristi Democratici), Italy; The National Association of Democratic Lawyers, (NADEL), South Africa; Toplum ve Hukuk Araştırmaları Vakfı (Foundation for Society and Legal Studies), Turkey; Turkey Human Rights Litigation Support Project, the United Kingdom; Turkish-German Forum of Culture, Germany; and Van Barosu (Van Bar Association), Turkey.

  • Attached documents
  • Member organisations - Turkey
    vignette contact
    vignette contact

Take action