Detained human rights activists face charges in Turkey

Detained human rights activists face charges in Turkey”

The Amnesty director, Idil Eser, was detained along with nine other human rights advocates this month during a raid on a hotel where the group was attending a workshop.

Turkish police on Wednesday arrested the producer of a film about last July's failed coup attempt on charges of forming and leading a terrorist group, the Hurriyet daily said.

Amnesty has called for their release and said their case is a test for Turkey's judiciary.

Eight of those detained were Turkish rights activists, including Ilknur Ustun of the Women's Coalition and Veli Acu of the Human Rights Agenda Association.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said this month that the activists were detained on a tip-off they were working against the government, comparing them to those involved in a failed putsch in July previous year. Their two trainers " a German and a Swede " were also detained.

Turkey has blamed the July 15, 2016, failed coup on followers of US -based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen and has branded his movement a terror organization.

More than 50,000 people have been jailed pending trial and 150,000 state workers including teachers, judges and soldiers have been suspended or dismissed under emergency rule imposed last July after the coup, and extended further on Monday. Since the coup, the president has focused on rounding up politicians, activists and journalists who disagree with him, along with scores of entire media organizations.

"After this decision none of us who defend human rights in Turkey, whether it is Amnesty International or other organisations, are safe in this country".

"It's no exaggeration to say that Amnesty International in Turkey and in fact the whole of the Human Rights movement here in Turkey faces an existential threat", Gardner said.

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