By Oladipupo Mojeed
Eight leading human rights activists including Amnesty International’s director in Turkey, Idil Eser, have been arrested in Istanbul.
Two trainers from Germany and Sweden were also arrested in the raid on a digital security workshop run by Amnesty at a hotel in Buyukada.
In addition to Idil Eser, the seven human rights defenders detained were: İlknur Üstün, Women’s Coalition, Günal Kurşun , lawyer, Human Rights Agenda Association, Nalan Erkem, Lawyer, Citizens Assembly, Nejat Taştan, Equal Rights Watch Association , Özlem Dalkıran, Citizens’ Assembly, Şeyhmuz Özbekli, lawyer, Veli Acu, Human Rights Agenda Association.
The police raid was “blatantly without cause. We are profoundly disturbed and outraged that some of Turkey’s leading human rights defenders, including the Director of Amnesty International Turkey should have been detained so blatantly without cause,” an Amnesty statement said.
The group’s whereabouts are unknown. Police had jailed more than 50,000 people since last year’s coup plot.
— AmnestyInternational (@amnesty) July 6, 2017
The group also described the police action as “a grotesque abuse of power and highlights the precarious situation facing human rights activists in the country,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.
“Idil Eser and those detained with her must be immediately and unconditionally released.”
Turkey remains under a state of emergency imposed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after rogue army officers tried to oust him in a coup on July 15, 2016.
The post-coup crackdown has targeted tens of thousands of public servants accused of supporting United States-based Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen.