Turkey – Ongoing Arbitrary Detention & Judicial Harassment of 17 Women’s Rights Defenders

Turkey – Ongoing Detention & Judicial Harassment of 17 Women’s Rights Defenders


World Organization Against Torture : https://www.omct.org/human-rights-defenders/urgent-interventions/turkey/2020/07/d25994/


URGENT APPEAL – THE OBSERVATORY


July 24, 2020 – The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your intervention in the following situation in Turkey.


Description of the situation:


The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the ongoing arbitrary detention of women’s rights defenders Mses. Elif Haran, co-Chair of the Med Federation of Associations for Legal Aid and Solidarity with Families of Arrestees and Convicts (MED TUHAD-FED), Hasret Alp, Bahar Akyapı and Figen Ekti, women’s rights activists from the Free Women’s Movement (TJA), as well as the ongoing judicial harassment against women’s rights defenders Mses. Ayşe Güney, spokesperson of the Mesopotamia Women Journalists’ Platform and editor of Jinnews, Ayşe Gökkan, spokesperson of TJA, Zekiye Güler, Emine Kaya, Selma Metin, Ruken Şehir, Şükran Tamir, Gülseren Akkum, Tekoşin Tekin, and Hatice Şen, women’s rights activists from TJA, Rozerin Çatak, Diyarbakır Branch Executive of the Health and Social Service Laborers’ Union (SES), Dilan Yakut and Güneş Özel, former executives of Office Workers’ Union (BES).


According to the information received, on July 14, 2020, police officers raided the houses of 23 women in Diyarbakır, including the above stated 17 women’s rights defenders, and took them into custody in Diyarbakır Provincial Security Directorate. In the following days, five additional women were taken into police custody within the scope of the same investigation, including Mses. Hayriye Türkekul and Aklime Hanas, members of Peace Mothers Initiative who are over 70 years old. After their interrogation at the Police Directorate was completed, five women who were recently taken into custody were released, and 23 others were later interrogated by the Prosecutor’s Office in Diyarbakır.


The women’s rights defenders are facing the accusation of “membership to a terrorist organisation” for their membership to the women’s rights initiative TJA, their participation in meetings and press statements organised by TJA, their participation in other assemblies, demonstrations and press statements on gender based violence and other women’s rights issues, for taking part in public statements on the hunger strike of Kurdish politicians, as well as for their attendance at the congress of TUHAD-FED.


On July 17, 2020, a total of 18 women, including women’s rights defenders Mses. Ayşe Güney, Ayşe Gökkan, Zekiye Güler, Emine Kaya, Selma Metin, Ruken Şehir, Şükran Tamir, Gülseren Akkum, Tekoşin Tekin, Hatice Şen, Rozerin Çatak, Dilan Yakut and Güneş Özel were released on judicial control by the court while the court ordered the detention of five women, including Mses. Elif Haran, Hasret Alp, Bahar Akyapı and Figen Ekti. The four detained women’s rights defenders are being held in the Diyarbakır Closed Women’s Prison.


The Observatory recalls the recent investigations opened into Rosa Women’s Association and TJA in Diyarbakır, and that tens of women’s rights defenders remain in arbitrary detention for their human rights activities[1].


The Observatory condemns the arbitrary detention of Mses. Elif Haran, Hasret Alp, Bahar Akyapı and Figen Ekti, as well as the judicial harassment against Mses. Ayşe Güney, Ayşe Gökkan, Zekiye Güler, Emine Kaya, Selma Metin, Ruken Şehir, Şükran Tamir, Gülseren Akkum, Tekoşin Tekin, Hatice Şen, Rozerin Çatak, Dilan Yakut and Güneş Özel, as it seems to be merely aimed at punishing them for exercising their legitimate human rights activities.


Website also includes suggested advocacy actions. https://www.omct.org/human-rights-defenders/urgent-interventions/turkey/2020/07/d25994/