Turkish gov’t continued crackdown on dissidents in 2019: Amnesty annual report

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Government’s crackdown on dissidents in Turkey continued in 2019 despite the end of a two-year-long state of emergency in July 2018, Amnesty International (AI) said in its annual report reviewing the situation of human rights around the world, the Ahval news website reported.

“Thousands of people were held in lengthy and punitive pre-trial detention, often without any credible evidence of their having committed any crime recognizable under international law,” the report said.

There were severe restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, according to AI.

People perceived critical of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, in particular journalists, politicians and human rights defenders, were detained or faced trumped-up criminal charges, the rights group said.

Six men accused of links to the Gülen movement who went missing in February, suspected of having been the victims of enforced disappearance, resurfaced in police detention five to nine months after their disappearance, according to the report.

“The six men were reported by their families to have lost weight, be very pale and nervous. The men reportedly did not disclose what had happened to them during the months they were disappeared.”

Turkey accuses the movement of orchestrating a 2016 coup attempt, although it strongly denies any involvement.

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