Turkey: Release detained academics and uphold freedom of expression
Turkish authorities must immediately and unconditionally release four academics detained for signing a petition critical of the government’s security operations in southeast Turkey and for speaking out at a press conference, said Amnesty International on the eve of their trial hearing.
“These four academics have been held in pre-trial detention for almost a month on baseless charges of making propaganda for a terrorist organization, when in actual fact all they did was express their concern for human rights abuses in their country, as it is their right to do so,” said Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s researcher on Turkey.
“They must be released from prison immediately and unconditionally and all charges against them dropped. Nothing they have said or done in their appeals for peace can justify arbitrary detention. Amnesty International will campaign for their release as long as this sham trial continues.”
Muzaffer Kaya, Esra Mungan, Kıvanç Ersoy and Meral Camcı have been held in pre-trial detention since March 2016. They are among the 1,128 initial signatories of a petition published 11 January 2016 calling on the Turkish government to build a peace plan that recognizes Kurdish political demands. They also criticized the government’s actions at a press conference in Istanbul on 10 March, reiterating their call for peace.
“The four academics did not attempt to incite violence either in the petition that they signed or the statements that they made. They were voicing their views, as is their right by law, and that cannot be taken away on the whim of the Turkish authorities who don’t like what the academics say,” said Andrew Gardner.
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