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11th July 2017, 14:09:46 UTC

Detainees speak out in support of human rights from their jail cells

Turkish authorities must immediately and unconditionally release 10 human rights defenders, Amnesty International said today after their week-long police detention was extended by up to a further seven days. Amnesty International Turkey’s Director, Idil Eser, is among the 10 detained on 5 July whilst attending a routine workshop. They are being investigated on the unfounded suspicion of membership of an ‘armed terrorist organisation’.

Speaking from their prison cells in Turkey, the detainees have reinforced their commitment to human rights activism and thanked activists around the world for their continuing work to secure their release.

Former Amnesty chair and prominent human rights defender, Özlem Dalkıran said:


“I feel great pride in being part of our human rights community. I value the morale that the domestic and international campaign is generating for us in detention and for human rights defenders out there. I have never felt part of a family as much as I feel right now. So happy that you exist, that we all exist.”


Prominent women’s rights defender, İlknur Üstün said:

“All my life I have been part of the struggles for equality and freedom for women and for justice. I carried on believing in the people I walked with in our common struggle and the rightfulness of it. I see once more the importance and necessity of our fight. We are not few, we are not small. I will be proud to continue our struggle until women are equal and free, and we realise justice for everyone.”


Amnesty International member and activist, Veli Acu said:


“Thanks to this detention and these baseless accusations directed at me as a human rights activist and a humanitarian worker, I have now seen how right and needed our struggle is. Human rights for all now, without discrimination.”


Activists in more than 30 countries are this week joining protests outside Turkish embassies demanding the release of the Amnesty International Turkey’s Chair and Director as well as other prominent human rights defenders behind bars amid a spiralling crackdown. Amnesty International Ireland will hold a demonstration outside the Turkish embassy on Wednesday, 12 July at 1pm.

“With this news we renew our emphatic call for the immediate and unconditional release of my colleague and counterpart Turkey director and the other nine human rights defenders detained alongside her. It is truly absurd that they are under investigation for membership of an armed terrorist organisation. They should not have spent a moment behind bars. For them to be entering a second week in police cells is a shocking indictment of the ruthless treatment of those who attempt to stand up for human rights in Turkey,” said Amnesty International Ireland Executive Director, Colm O’Gorman.