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Turkey Rights Monitor - Issue 63

ARBITRARY DETENTION AND ARREST


Throughout the week, prosecutors ordered the detention of at least 104 people over alleged links to the Gülen movement. In October 2020, a UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) opinion said that widespread or systematic imprisonment of individuals with alleged links to the group may amount to crimes against humanity. Solidarity with OTHERS has compiled a detailed database to monitor the Gülen-linked mass detentions since a failed coup in July 2016.



September 4: Mehmet Ali Çelebi, a 70-year-old sick inmate, died a few days after his release from an Ankara prison.


ARBITRARY DEPRIVATION OF LIFE


September 3: An armored police vehicle ran over and killed a 7-year-old boy in Şırnak named Mihraç Miroğlu. The officer driving the vehicle was only summoned for a testimony three days later and was released immediately afterwards.


Mihraç Miroğlu (7) lost his life after being hit by an armored police vehicle

ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES


No news has emerged of Yusuf Bilge Tunç and Hüseyin Galip Küçüközyiğit, former public sector workers who were sacked from their jobs by decree-laws during the 2016-2018 state of emergency and who were reported missing respectively as of August 6, 2019 and December 29, 2020, in what appear to be the latest cases in a string of suspected enforced disappearance of government critics since 2016.


FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY AND ASSOCIATION


August 31: The Van Governor’s Office issued a ban on all outdoor gatherings for a period of 15 days.


September 1: A district governor in İstanbul issued a ban on all outdoor gatherings for a period of five days. The ban came ahead of planned World Peace Day rallies on September 1.


September 1: The Eskişehir Governor’s Office issued a ban on all outdoor gatherings for a period of 15 days. The ban came prior to a planned World Peace Day celebration.


September 3: The Mardin Governor’s Office issued a ban on all outdoor gatherings for a period of 15 days.


September 5: The police in İstanbul intervened in a rally to mark the World Peace Day, detaining 57 people.


FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND MEDIA


August 30: Opera singer and columnist Güvenç Dağüstün was physically assaulted by two unidentified assailants following a concert in İstanbul.


Güvenç Dağüstün

September 1: Mardin prosecutors launched an investigation into JinNews reporter Öznur Değer over her coverage of a racist attack against a Kurdish family in Konya that claimed the lives of seven people.


Journalist Öznur Değer

September 1: An İstanbul court blocked access to news reports about an ongoing organized crime case which implicates a high-ranking police officer.


September 1: Media reports cited ruling party officials who revealed that a new bill to be proposed in October to bring more restrictions on social media will call for prison sentences for social media users who “spread organized lies and disinformation online.” Officials also said that the “Social Media Directorate” will be set up to identify users who “produce or disseminate fake news online.”


September 2: The European Court of Human Rights ruled that the conviction of Resul Üçdağ on terrorism-related charges over two pictures that he had shared on Facebook violated his freedom of expression.


September 3: The Constitutional Court ruled that the police violence against journalist Gökhan Biçici in 2013 during news follow up violated his right to protection from inhumane treatment.


JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE & RULE OF LAW


September 6: A police officer who ran over and killed a 7-year-old child while driving an armored vehicle in Şırnak was released by prosecutors immediately after giving testimony, despite eyewitness statements which claimed that the vehicle was speeding at the time of the incident.


KURDISH MINORITY


September 1: Mardin prosecutors launched an investigation into JinNews reporter Öznur Değer over her coverage of a racist attack against a Kurdish family in Konya that claimed the lives of seven people.


REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS


August 30: Media reports said that Turkish border forces threw into the Evros river more than 50 refugees who were pushed back by Greece.


September 1: A total of 78 Afghan migrants were found hiding underneath bags of cement in the back of a truck in Van.


TORTURE AND ILL-TREATMENT


September 2: A lawyers’ association announced that Sonuç Gürdeğir, one of their clients, was subjected to heavy torture in police custody following his detention on August 24.


September 3: The Constitutional Court ruled that the police violence against journalist Gökhan Biçici in 2013 during news follow up violated his right to protection from inhumane treatment.


September 4: The police in İstanbul detained a courier in stranglehold.