Amnesty International's Urgent Action Alert:
ACADEMICS DETAINED for signing peace appeal - please write to the addresses below.
On 15 March three academics who signed an appeal for peace in January 2016 were charged with “making propaganda for a terrorist organization”. If convicted they face up to seven and a half years’ imprisonment. A fourth academic was detained on 31 March for signing the same appeal. The four are currently in pre-trial detention.
Academics Muzaffer Kaya, Esra Mungan, Kıvanç Ersoy and Meral Camcı are amongst the over 2,000 signatories to a petition criticizing ongoing curfews and security operations in south eastern Turkey and calling for a resumption of peace talks between Turkey and the armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Shortly after the publication of the petition on 11 January 2016, the Ankara and Istanbul Chief Prosecutors opened a criminal investigation into its initial signatories, including the four academics.
In a press conference on 10 March, Muzaffer Kaya, Esra Mungan, Kıvanç Ersoy and Meral Camcı renewed their call for peace and condemned the harassment of academics who had signed the petition, on behalf of all the signatories to the original statement. Subsequently, the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor opened a new separate investigation accusing the four academics of “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation”.
On 15 March the court granted the prosecutor’s request that Muzaffer Kaya, Esra Mungan and Kıvanç Ersoy be remanded in pre-trial detention and found that “…despite knowing that the terrorist organisation [the PKK] is the source of the violence, the statement notably does not criticise or condemn the terrorist organisation, demonstrating that the defendants in reality support the actions of the terrorist organisation.” Meral Camcı was abroad when the arrest warrant was issued and returned to Turkey on 30 March. On 31 March she was remanded in pre-trial detention in Bakırköy women’s prison in Istanbul along with Esra Mungan.
Esra Mungan was held in isolation in Bakırköy prison until 28 March. Muzaffer Kaya and Kıvanç Ersoy were held in isolation from other detainees between 24 March and 4 April. They are currently being held in Silivri prison, near Istanbul. The first objection to the pre-trial detention of Esra Mungan, Muzaffer Kaya and Kıvanç Ersoy was rejected on 28 March and a hearing date was set for 22 April. A decision on the objection to the pre-trial detention of Meral Camcı is still pending.
The statements made by the four academics at the 10 March press conference, and the 11 January petition of the 1,128 original signatories in no way represent incitement to violence and are protected under the right to freedom of expression.
Please write immediately in Turkish or your own language:
- Calling on the Turkish authorities to release the four detained academics (Muzaffer Kaya, Esra Mungan, Kıvanç Ersoy and Meral Camcı) and drop the charges against them;
- Urging them not to hold any of the detained academics in solitary confinement whilst they are in detention;
- Calling on them to drop the investigations into the academics who originally signed the petition.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 19 MAY 2016 TO:
Minister of Justice
Mr Bekir Bozdağ
Ministry of Justice
06659 Ankara, Turkey
Fax: +90 312 417 71 13
Salutation: Dear Minister
Minister of Interior
Mr Efkan Ala
Fax: +90 312 418 1795
Salutation: Dear Minister
And copies to:
Chair of the Human Rights Institution
Dr Hikmet Tülen
Yüksel Caddesi No. 23, Kat 3, Yenişehir
06650 Ankara, Turkey
Fax: +90 312 422 29 96
Also send copies to:
Ambassador Namik Tan, Embassy of the Republic of Turkey
2525 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington DC 20008
Phone: 1 202 612 6729 Fax: 1 202 612 6744 Email: email@example.com
Ambassador Selcuk Unal, Embassy of the Republic of Turkey
197 Wurtemburg Stree, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 8L9 Canada
Phone: 1 613 244 2470 Fax: 1 623 789 3442 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please let us know if you took action so that we can track our impact! EITHER send a short email to email@example.com with “UA 78/16” in the subject line, and include in the body of the email the number of letters and/or emails you sent, Thank you for taking action! Please check with the AIUSA Urgent Action Office if taking action after the appeals date.