It should have been an ordinary day for İdil Eser, head of Amnesty Turkey. She was attending a routine workshop for human rights activists in Istanbul in July 2017. Joining her was friend and fellow activist Özlem Dalkıran, founder of Amnesty Turkey, now with Avaaz and the Citizens’ Assembly.
The third day of their workshop was about to start when police raided the building and detained them and eight others. The accusation? “Aiding a terrorist organization” – a preposterous allegation. The detention of the Istanbul 10 followed the arrest of Amnesty Turkey Chair Taner Kılıç, imprisoned since 9 June on the absurd charge of being a member of an “armed terrorist organization”.
These detentions are the latest in a series of government efforts to silence its critics. Since the attempted coup of July 2016, over 150,000 people have been placed under criminal investigation.
The Istanbul 10 have dedicated their lives to defending the rights of others. They speak out for freedom, fighting for everyone in Turkey to be treated fairly. Every day that they are detained, the people they speak up for are left more vulnerable to the government’s ongoing crackdown on freedoms.
Call the Turkish Embassy, and demand they stop persecuting these rights defenders and unconditionally release them.
Hello, I'm calling to demand that the Turkish government immediately release Idil and the other human rights defenders imprisoned with her, and demand that the ridiculous charges against them be dropped. The Istanbul 10 have dedicated their lives to defending the rights of others. They speak out for freedom, fighting for everyone in Turkey to be treated fairly. Every day that they are detained, the people they speak up for are left more vulnerable. Thank you.