Two human rights activists arrested shortly after being released in Turkey

Two human rights activists arrested shortly after being released in Turkey

ISTANBUL
Two human rights activists arrested shortly after being released in Turkey

Two human rights activists have been arrested in Istanbul a short while after being released from detention.  

Nalan Erkem and İlknur Üstün, who were previously detained and later released on condition of judicial control, were arrested on July 22. 

Erkem from the Citizen’s Assembly and Üstün from the Women’s Coalition were among the 10 activists detained earlier this month in a raid by police on a workshop session of human rights activists held on an island south of Istanbul.

A Turkish court on July 18 ordered six of the human rights activists, including Amnesty International’s Turkey director İdil Eser, to be arrested on charges of “aiding a terrorist organization.”

The four others were then released under judicial supervision.

However, an Istanbul court on July 21 issued new arrest warrants for four - Erkem, Şeyhmus Özbekli, Nejat Taştan and Üstün - after granting an appeal from prosecutors against their release.

Amnesty said Erkem was detained at her house in Istanbul late July 21 and Üstün was detained at her home in Ankara on July 22.

There was no immediate indication of the whereabouts of Özbekli and Taştan.

John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s director for Europe, described the new detention orders as a “cruel and retrograde step” and said Turkish authorities have “raised their absurdity to fresh heights.”

“Turkey has underlined its growing reputation as an indiscriminate jailer of civil society activists and a stranger to the rule of law,” he said.

Eight of the 10 initially detained are Turkish rights activists. But the other two are German Peter Steudtner and Swedish Ali Gharavi, who were leading the digital information workshop.

Amnesty said Gharavi is an IT strategy consultant and Steudtner is a “non-violence and well-being trainer.”

Last month Amnesty International’s Turkey chair, Taner Kılıç, was arrested on what the rights group described as “baseless charges” of links to the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, widely believed to have been behind the July 15, 2016, failed coup attempt.