Coveney says formal arrest of Turkish human rights defenders 'a new low'

He says all persons must be given the right to a fair trial

Coveney says formal arrest of Turkish human rights defenders 'a new low'

Idil Eser | Image via @amnesty on Twitter

The Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney has criticised the arrest of human rights defenders in Turkey.

The six people, including the director of Amnesty International Turkey Idil Eser, were formally arrested on Wednesday.

Ms Eser was detained along with other human rights defenders and two trainers during a digital security and information management workshop in Istanbul on July 6th.

Six of those detained have now been arrested, including Ms Eser.

They are Günal Kurşun (Human Rights Agenda Association), Özlem Dalkıran (Citizens’ Assembly), Veli Acu (Human Rights Agenda Association) Ali Gharavi (IT strategy consultant) and Peter Steudtner (non-violence and wellbeing trainer). 

While Taner Kiliç, chair of Amnesty International Turkey, and 22 other lawyers were arrested in Izmir on June 6th.

These arrests have been made under the state of emergency in operation in Turkey since a failed coup attempt on July 15th - which have seen some 140,000 public servants, journalists, human rights activists and academics dismissed, detained or arrested.

Minister Coveney says: "The arrest of these human rights defenders in Turkey marks a new low in the deeply troubling trend on fundamental freedoms that we are witnessing in Turkey.

"The targeting of human rights activists is not an activity we expect to see in a country which respects basic human rights and the rule of law, and I call on the Turkish authorities to release those arrested.

"Human rights organisations carry out essential and legitimate roles and their right to do so must be protected.

"In all cases, persons arrested must be accorded full due process, including the presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial."