Activists’ detention extended
ISTANBUL: Turkey extended the detention of eight leading Turkish human rights activists and two foreign consultants yesterday, according to Amnesty International.
The group were detained last week when police raided a hotel in Istanbul where they were holding a conference, which was focused on defending human rights workers in crisis.
Among those brought into custody were the Swedish and German consultants and Idil Eser, the director of Amnesty International’s Turkey branch.
Eser’s home was searched on Monday, with police seizing computer equipment, said Andrew Gardner, Amnesty’s Turkey researcher who condemned the “baseless detentions”.
The pro-government newspaper Aksam said the investigation was looking into whether the human rights activists were members of an “armed terrorist organisation”.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, when pressed on the issue by reporters during the G20 summit in Germany over the weekend, claimed the detained activists had met for a “continuation” of last year’s abortive coup.
He also said the judiciary was independent and would decide the case.
Suspects can be held for up to two weeks without seeing a judge, according to the rules governing the country.
The chairperson of Amnesty International’s Turkey branch was arrested last month along with more than a dozen other lawyers.
As part of the state of emergency in place since the failed coup, dozens of civil society organisations have been shut down, and activists and journalists jailed. – dpa