Turkey to re-arrest four activists in Amnesty case — Charges of aiding a “terror” group.


© AFP/File | Amnesty International activists hold placards as they protest against the arrest of rights activists in Turkey, including Amnesty International’s Turkey director, on July 20, 2017, near the Coliseum in Rome

ISTANBUL (AFP) – A Turkish court on Friday issued new arrest warrants for four activists previously detained but then released in a controversial case that has raised tensions with the West.

The four were among 10 people detained earlier this month in a raid by police on a workshop session of human rights activists held on an island off Istanbul.

A Turkish court on Tuesday ordered six of the human rights activists, including Amnesty International’s Turkey director Idil Eser, be remanded in custody on charges of aiding a “terror” group.

The four others were then released on judicial supervision.

But the state-run Anadolu news agency said an Istanbul court has issued new arrest warrants for the four — Nalan Erkem, Seyhmus Ozbekli, Nejat Tastan and Ilknur Ustun — after granting an appeal from prosecutors against their release.

It was not immediately clear if they had yet been re-arrested.

The decision to remand the six in custody earlier this week sparked international alarm and amplified fears of declining freedom of expression under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Eight of the 10 initially detained are Turkish rights activists. But the other two are German Peter Steudtner and Swede Ali Gharavi, who were leading the digital information workshop.

This has stoked tensions in particular with Berlin, which is now looking at an overhaul of its relations with Ankara.

Amnesty describes Gharavi as an IT strategy consultant and Steudtner as a “non-violence and well-being trainer”.



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