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Jan-25-2013 16:05printcomments

Stop Systematic Campaign of Judicial Harassment and Criminalization OF Human Rights Defenders in Turkey

Mr. Gomes has deep concern about the abuse of terrorism-related legislation against human rights defenders and the systematic harassment of independent voices in Turkey.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Recep Tayyip Erdogan

(YORK, UK) - Human Rights Ambassador William Nicholas Gomes asked to Turkish prime minister to stop a systematic campaign of judicial harassment and criminalization Human Rights Defender in Turkey.

The Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com said IHD has been the subject of a systematic campaign of judicial harassment and criminalisation, as a direct result of their human rights work in Turkey, in particular as regards Kurdish issues.

Mr. Gomes said he condemns the conviction and sentencing of the aforementioned individuals, and believes this to be solely motivated by their legitimate and peaceful human rights work and the provision of legal assistance. He reiterates his deep concern about the abuse of terrorism-related legislation against human rights defenders and the systematic harassment of independent voices in Turkey.

William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com asked the Turkish prime minister to reverse the sentencing and ensure the immediate and unconditional release of Filiz Kalayci, Hasan Anlar, Halil İbrahim Vargun, Murat Vargun, Tugay Bek and Sevil Araci Bek, as he believes that they have been sentenced solely as a result of their legitimate and peaceful human rights work.


Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Office of the Prime Minister
Basbakanlik
Vekaletler Caddesi
06573 Bakanliklar
Ankara, Turkey
Fax: +90 312 417 0476
Email: receptayyip.erdogan@basbakanlik.gov.tr


Your Excellency,

I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com.

I came to know about the situation from Front Line Defenders.

On 24 January 2013, four human rights defenders who are lawyers and members of the Ankara Branch of Insan Haklari Dernegi (Human Rights Association – IHD) were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 6 to 7 years and 6 months, on charges of being a member of “an armed, illegal organisation”. IHD is a non-governmental human rights organization founded in 1986, with approximately 34 local branches around the country. It engages in a variety of human rights activities including defending prisoner rights, campaigning against torture, promoting a peaceful, non-violent and democratic solution to the Kurdish question, promoting economic and social justice and human rights education and the production of a number of reports and publications.

On 24 January 2013, Ankara Heavy Penal Court No. 11 sentenced former Chairperson of İHD Ms Filiz Kalayci to 7 years and 6 months of imprisonment, and İHD General Executive Board member Mr Hasan Anlar, İHD Chairperson Lawyer Mr Halil İbrahim Vargun and İHD member Mr Murat Vargun to 6 years and 3 months of imprisonment each.

IHD has been the subject of a systematic campaign of judicial harassment and criminalisation, as a direct result of their human rights work in Turkey, in particular as regards Kurdish issues. Charges targeted at IHD members have predominantly included alleged membership of an “illegal organisation”, referring to (Koma Ciwaken Kurdistan (Union of Kurdistan Communities – KCK). Two more İHD members were convicted on 11 December 2012. İHD Executive Board Member Mr Tugay Bek and lawyer Ms Sevil Araci Bek were sentenced to 3 years, 1 month and 13 days of imprisonment each, on charges of “committing offence on behalf of an organisation although he is not a member” under Article 220/6 of the Penal Code. The charges were reportedly in connection with Tugay Bek and Sevil Araci Bek's participation in various election activities before the general elections held on 12 June 2011. These convictions took place despite the prosecutor requesting their acquittal.

An alarmingly high number of human rights defenders face judicial harassment in Turkey. On the same day the sentence against IHD members was read, human rights defender, writer and sociologist Ms Pinar Selek was sentenced to life imprisonment, on charges of allegedly causing a bomb to explode in the Egyptian bazaar in Istanbul in 1998 and of membership in a terrorist organisation.

I condemn the conviction and sentencing of the aforementioned individuals, and believe this to be solely motivated by their legitimate and peaceful human rights work and the provision of legal assistance. I reiterate my deep concern about the abuse of terrorism-related legislation against human rights defenders and the systematic harassment of independent voices in Turkey.

I urge the authorities in Turkey to:

1. Reverse the sentencing and ensure the immediate and unconditional release of Filiz Kalayci, Hasan Anlar, Halil İbrahim Vargun, Murat Vargun, Tugay Bek and Sevil Araci Bek, as Front Line Defenders believes that they have been sentenced solely as a result of their legitimate and peaceful human rights work;

2. Cease the ongoing campaign of judicial harassment and criminalisation of İHD members;

3. Carry out an independent review of the use of terrorism-related legislation and ensure its use conforms strictly to international human rights standards;

4. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Turkey are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.



William Nicholas Gomes
Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com
www.williamnichoalsgomes.com

Donate to Support William's Human Rights Stories; donate through PayPal

Donate to: williamgomes.org@gmail.com

________________________________________

______________________________

Salem-News.com Human Rights Ambassador William Nicholas Gomes is a Bangladeshi journalist, human rights activist and author was born on 25 December, 1985 in Dhaka. As an investigative journalist he wrote widely for leading European and Asian media outlets.

He is also active in advocating for free and independent media and journalists’ rights, and is part of the free media movement, Global Independent Media Center – an activist media network for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate telling of the truth. He worked for Italian news agency Asianews.it from year 2009 to 2011, on that time he was accredited as a free lance journalist by the press information department of Bangladesh. During this time he has reported a notable numbers of reports for the news agency which were translated into Chinese and Italian and quoted by notable number of new outlets all over the world.He, ideologically, identifies himself deeply attached with anarchism. His political views are often characterized as “leftist” or “left-wing,” and he has described himself as an individualist anarchist.

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