Amnesty Int’l chief complains after not being allowed to visit jailed Turkish colleague İdil Eser
AFP photoAmnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty on Sept. 6 was not permitted to visit the organization’s Turkey director İdil Eser, who was jailed on “terrorism” charges two months ago.
During his visit to Turkey, Shetty applied for authorization to visit to Eser in Istanbul’s Silivri Prison but he was not received at the prosecutor’s office at the prison.
As she does not have any first-degree relatives, Eser is reportedly not allowed any visits other than a one-hour meeting once a week with her lawyers. She is also not allowed to stay with two other arrested rights activists, Özlem Dalkıran and Nalan Erkem.
Speaking to daily Cumhuriyet while returning from the prison, Shetty described the charges directed against Eser and other rights activists as “absurd,” saying they had been targeted over their human rights works.
He stressed the importance of “finding ways to provide dialogue between opposing ideas in every country, including Turkey, where there are opposing ideas regarding the state of the country.”
Shetty said Turkey “deserved better” in terms of human rights, adding that it was “unacceptable” for innocent people to be deprived of their freedom regardless of the political motives behind such arrests.
Amnesty International is continuing to work to secure permission for prison visits by friends of Eser, he added.
Eser and seven other activists and two foreign trainers were detained on July 5 during a digital security and information management workshop on Istanbul’s Büyükada Island.
An Istanbul court later ordered the arrest of the eight activists on accusations “aiding a terror group,” while the other two were released with a judicial control order and banned from traveling abroad.
Earlier in June, Amnesty International’s Turkey chair, Taner Kılıç, was also arrested on charges of having links to the Gülen network, widely believed to have been behind the failed July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
Shetty told Cumhuriyet that this was the first time Amnesty International had ever had two heads in the same country arrested.