Index on Censorship condemns the arrest of Idil Eser, director of Amnesty International Turkey, and demands her immediate and unconditional release, along with that of two digital security trainers and seven human rights defenders. All were arrested during a digital security and information management workshop in Büyükada, Istanbul, on Wednesday afternoon.
“The detention of Idil Eser and other participants in yesterday’s workshop marks a new low in the rapidly decreasing status of human rights in Turkey,” said Melody Patry, head of advocacy at Index on Censorship. “By detaining them incommunicado and denying them access to a lawyer, Turkey shows its complete disregard for the rule of law.”
The whereabouts of Eser and the other detainees are currently unknown. Eser has allegedly been denied access to communication with her lawyer and her family — the latter of which is illegal under Turkish law.
These are just the latest in a string of attacks on civil society. Thousands of journalists and academics have lost their jobs since the coup attempt in July 2016. Turkey is now the world’s top jailer of journalists, with over 160 in jail. Many journalists, including brothers Ahmet Altan and Mehmet Altan, who have been charged with a variety of false and exaggerated claims, await their fate during a trial next month.
Last month, Taner Kiliç, chair of Amnesty International Turkey, and 22 lawyers were unlawfully detained and have yet to be released. In January, three academics who signed a peace petition were also imprisoned.
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Dear @RT_Erdogan. We demand the release of Amnesty Turkey Director Idil Eser and her colleagues now! #TurkeyRelease #G20 #TurkeyUncensored