Turkey’s most prominent defenders of human rights, who were staying at a hotel on Büyükada to hold workshops as part of a programme for protecting human rights defenders were today arrested at the hotel. In the investigation, which is being conducted in great secrecy, information is not even being provided to lawyers and the arrested, with a ‘confidentiality order’ cited.
From what has been gleaned, directors and members of Turkey’s most prominent organisations for the defence of human rights organised an in-service training workshop on Büyükada as part of a programme for protecting human rights defenders. With the workshops underway, the police arrived following a tip-off at the human rights defenders’ hotel and made mass arrests. The police arrested Nalan Erkem of the Citizens Assembly, İlknur Üstün of the Women’s Coalition, İdil Eser, Director of Amnesty International Turkey, Veli Acı, member of Amnesty International Turkey’s Executive Board, Günal Kurşun of the Human Rights Agenda Association, Nejat Taştan of the Association for Monitoring Equal Rights, Özlem Dalkıran of the Citizens Assembly, Şeyhmus Özbekli, former Association for Human Rights and Solidarity for the Oppressed activist, and Ali Garawi, who was moderating the workshops. With not even relatives of the arrestees being informed of the arrests, lawyers, too, remain uninformed of the arrest procedures, which were learnt about by chance in the evening. The human rights defenders, who are being detained at the Police Centre on Büyükada, have not even been told of the charges on which they are being held. No information has been given as to how long they will remain in custody, either.
With the arrestees apparently numbering twelve, nine people were placed on a minibus and taken away from the police centre in the night. The police were seen to take very stringent precautions as they loaded the rights defenders onto the minibus. With it alleged that eight of the rights defenders were to be taken to various police stations on the Anatolian shore, it has been learnt that four people, including two foreign rights defenders who were attending the workshop, will be held on the island.
Human rights arrested at a hotel