After having been kept in custody for 12 days, 6 of the 10 human rights defenders in Turkey were arrested; and, the other 4 were released on condition of legal control.
On Monday (July 17), the prosecutor handling the case had sought for all of them to be arrested. Following their testimonies given at the counter-terrorism unit, Amnesty International Director İdil Eser; Citizens Association executive Özlam Dalkıran; Human Rights Agenda Association members Veli Acu and Günal Kurşun; Swedish activist Ali Gharavi; and, German activist Peter Steudtner were arrested over accusations of ‘terror links and support’.
At a press conference held in Amnesty International’s office in London on Tuesday (July 18), AI director of Europe and Central Asia John Dalhuisen said it was ‘absurd’ for the defenders to be ‘accused of having ties to 3 different terror groups at the same time’.
Dalhuisen stated that the detention of the human rights activists ‘shows the situation with regards to human rights and justice in Turkey’ and urged the government in Britain to break its silence over deterioration of democracy and rule of law in the country.
According to reports of Onur Erem from BBC Türkçe, Dalhuisen also highlighted that AI Director İdil Eser was, in fact, being accused of supporting DHKP-C through the campaigns of AI run during the Gezi protests, when Eser was not even on duty as the director at AI, as well as, of supporting the Kurdish separatists and the followers of the Gülen Movement, the organization alleged to have carried out the 2016 coup attempt.
“Too many western governments have been locked in a fatal embrace with the Turkish government at the moment it slides into an authoritarian direction. Everyone knows this is happening in Turkey, and it needs to be said. These arrests represent a red line, and must be the moment when the terms of engagement with Turkey are reset”, Dalhuisen said, as Patrick Wintour of The Guardian reported.