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[UPDATE] Human rights activists referred to court for arrest

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A group of human rights activists who were detained on July 5 during a workshop at a hotel on İstanbul’s Büyükada were referred to court for arrest on Monday, the 12th day of their detention.

“Lynch campaign wins out over justice. All 10 sent to court with request that they are remanded in prison. Now up to judge to decide,” said Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s (AI) researcher on Turkey, who was at the İstanbul Courthouse in Çağlayan to follow the case.

After being interrogated at the anti-terror branch of the İstanbul Police Department, 10 human rights defenders who are accused of membership in a terrorist organization were referred to the İstanbul Courthouse in Çağlayan on Monday morning.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused the human rights defenders of plotting a follow-up to a July 15, 2016 coup attempt during a press conference on July 8.

“What was the reason for those [human rights defenders] who you just mentioned to gather at a hotel on Büyükada? They were there for a meeting [to plan something] that could be considered a follow-up to the July 15 coup attempt. Police raided [the hotel] upon a tip from the intelligence agency. And they were detained as a result of that raid. They have not yet been arrested. I don’t know the result of this detention. It might trigger a trial. It is a different matter. It is not in the hands of the judiciary yet,” Erdoğan said.

The detained activists are İdil Eser from the AI, İlknur Üstün from the Women’s Coalition, lawyer Günal Kurşun from the Human Rights Agenda Association, lawyer Nalan Erkem from the Citizens Assembly, Nejat Taştan from the Equal Rights Watch Association, Özlem Dalkıran from the Citizens’ Assembly, lawyer Şeyhmuz Özbekli and Veli Acu from the Human Rights Agenda Association.

Two foreign trainers — a German and a Swedish national — as well as the hotel owner, who was later released, were also detained.

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