Turkey: Arbitrary detention of members of IHD Ms. Seher Acay, Mr. Fevzi Adsiz, Mr. Ziya Baği, and Mr. Mahmut Bingöl

07/12/2016
Urgent Appeal

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arbitrary detention of Ms. Seher Acay, representative of the Mardin Branch of the Human Rights Association (IHD), as well as of Mr. Fevzi Adsiz, Mr. Ziya Baği, and Mr. Mahmut Bingöl, members of IHD. The four lawyers are also affiliated to the Association of Jurists of Mesopotamia (MHD)[1].

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

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arbitrary detention of Ms. Seher Acay, representative of the Mardin Branch of the Human Rights Association (IHD), as well as of Mr. Fevzi Adsiz, Mr. Ziya Baği, and Mr. Mahmut Bingöl, members of IHD. The four lawyers are also affiliated to the Association of Jurists of Mesopotamia (MHD)[1].

According to the information received, on November 21, 2016, the four human rights lawyers were arrested and have been detained since then at the headquarters of the anti-terror police in the city of Mardin, on the basis of an arbitrary decision issued by Public Prosecutor Vural Eker. As of issuing this Urgent Appeal, the four detainees have not had access to their lawyers and no formal charges have yet been filed against them. However, the local press has reported that their arrest and detention would be linked to their activities as counsels of the city of Mardin, the mayor of which as been detained since November 21, 2016, on accusations of being linked to the PKK.

In addition, it has been reported that the four lawyers are being held in a department together with 186 persons, and are more specifically detained with five other individuals in a cell designed for two persons. As a result, the nine cannot lie down and rest as the cell is too crowded. Besides, they have been denied the right to undergo a medical checkup in the jail, and the prison doctor was reportedly summonsed to the Anti-Terror Headquarters in relation with their case. So far, the President of the Mardin Bar Association Celebi Araz visited them in jail, but they have been denied access to the legal counsel of their choice.

The Observatory strongly condemns the arrest and detention of Ms. Seher Acay, Mr. Mahmut Bingöl, Mr.Fevzi Adsiz and Mr. Ziya Baği and urges the Turkish authorities to immediately and unconditionally release them as their detention appears to be a form of retaliation for their human rights activities.

Until they are released, the Observatory calls upon the Turkish authorities to ensure the physical and psychological integrity of the four defenders as well as that any proceedings against them are carried out in full compliance with their right to a fair trial, as protected under international law, which includes access to their lawyers.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Turkey asking them to:

i. Immediately and unconditionally release Ms. Seher Acay, Mr. Mahmut Bingöl, Mr. Fevzi Adsiz and Mr. Ziya Bağias their detention is arbitrary since it only aims at sanctioning their human rights activities;

ii. Guarantee in all circumstances their physical and psychological integrity, as well as that of all human rights defenders in Turkey;

iii. Put an end to all forms of harassment, against Ms. Seher Acay, Mr. Mahmut Bingöl, Mr. Fevzi Adsiz and Mr. Ziya Bağiand all human rights defenders in the country so that they are able to carry out their work without hindrance;

iv. Comply with all the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular with its Articles 1, 5(b), and 12.2;

v. Guarantee the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other international human rights instruments signed or ratified by the Turkey.

Addresses:

· President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Cumhurbaşkanlığı Külliyesi 06560 Beştepe-Ankara, Tel: (+90 312) 525 55 55, Fax: (+90 312) 525 58 31, E-mail: contact@tccb.gov.tr
· Prime Minister of Turkey, Mr. Binali Yıldırım tel: (0312) 422 10 00 ; Fax: +90 (312) 403 62 82
· Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, No: 8 Balgat / Ankara - Turkey 06100; Tel : +90 (312) 292 10 00; Web: www.mfa.gov.tr/contact-us.en.mfa; Twitter: twitter.com/MFATurkey
· Minister of Justice, Mr. Bekir Bozdağ, 06659 Kizilay, Ankara; Tel: +90 (312) 417 77 70; Fax: +90 (0312) 419 33 70; E-mail: info@adalet.gov.tr
· Minister of Interior, Mr. Süleyman Soylu ; tel: +90 (312) 422 40 00;Fax: +90 (312) 425 61 30;Email: ozelkalem@icisleri.gov.tr
· Ambassador Izzet Selim Yenel, Diplomatic Mission of Turkey to the European Union in Brussels, Avenue des Arts 36-38, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium; Fax: + 32 2 511 04 50
· Ambassador Mehmet Ferden Çarikçi, Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations in Geneva, Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 28B 1211 Geneva 19, Tel: +41 22 918 50 80; Fax: +41 22 734 08 59; Email: mission.turkey@ties.itu.int

Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Turkey in your respective country.

***
Paris-Geneva, December 7, 2016

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and OMCT. The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
· E-mail: Appeals[at]fidh-omct.org
· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

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[1] The MHD was closed down by Decree Law on November 24, 2016.

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