Turkish authorities detain 12 human rights activists, including Amnesty International’s country director along with one German and one Swedish national, while attending a conference in Istanbul.
According to an Amnesty International statement on Thursday, July 6, 2017 the 11 were detained on Buyukada, an island just off Istanbul which is a popular tourist destination accessible by public ferry.
— amnestypress (@amnestypress) July 6, 2017
Human rights activists said that the meeting at a hotel in the area was focused on best practices for defending human rights activists in Turkey.
Amnesty’s Turkey director Idil Eser was among the detained in a statement by the human rights group called the detention “a grotesque abuse of power.’’
“Eser, and those detained with her, must be immediately and unconditionally released,’’ Amnesty said.
The group’s press office said on Twitter that Amnesty “unequivocally condemns the incommunicado detention’’ of Eser.
— AmnestyInternational (@amnesty) July 6, 2017
Amnesty said access to the detained was initially denied to lawyers.
The head of Amnesty International’s Turkey branch was arrested in June along with more than a dozen other lawyers.
A number of civil society groups have been closed during Turkey’s state of emergency, which was imposed after a failed coup last summer by a military faction.
Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan has been slammed for clamping down on human rights of citizens since the failed coup in 2016.