Kategoriarkiv: Artikkel

904 days in prison: Free the political hostage Osman Kavala

Norwegian PEN President calls for Turkish civil society leader Kavala to be released from 904 days’ detention.
Den tyrkiske filantropen og aktivisten Osman Kavala ble arrestert 1. november 2017. Foto: Bianet

As of today, the civil society leader Osman Kavala has been in prison, in pre-trial detention for 904 days. Although he was acquitted of the fantastic charges in the Gezi case on February 19th 2020, he was rearrested that night and remains in prison in Silivri, Istanbul. The prosecutor of the Republic is now preparing a new indictment for a case against Kavala on espionage charges. The prosecutor is trying to infer that the Open Society Foundation grants to Turkey were used by Kavala to use overseas finance an attempt to destroy the Turkish constitutional order The Prosecutor for the Republic took over 1.5 years to prepare the indictment in the Gezi trial. To all the independent observers, public, lawyers, indeed anyone who followed the Gezi case it is clear that there is no justifiable legal reasoning behind any of the charges against Kavala. He is being held as a political hostage by the current regime. The European Court ruled strongly on December 10th, 2019, while Kavala was a defendant in the Gezi trial, that his incarceration was both politically motivated and a clear infringement of his rights to liberty and security and hist right to a fair trial.

Norwegian PEN monitored all 6 public hearings of the Gezi trial in Silivri prison in 2019 and 2020.

We call upon the government of Turkey to drop this charade and to uphold the rule of law.  Osman Kavala must be released immediately. His pretrial detention is illegal, unjustified and in light of the current threats to prisoners posed by the COVID-19 virus, is a danger to his health. Kavala is a civil society leader whose foundation has enabled hundreds of art and literature projects to be realised, forging artistic friendships between Turkey and Europe. The nationalist element in Turkey’s government seem to see any cooperation with Europe as suspicious, and yet Turkey’s judicial system itself benefits from European Commission grants for training in human rights and other areas.

Kavala must be freed forthwith and compensated for the 904 days stolen from him. We will continue to monitor the current bogus case against him and will study the forthcoming indictment very closely. The fact that there are so few media sources that are able to hold the government to account goes to show the press freedom is still a critical concern in Turkey. We call for the restoration of the rule of law and for press freedom in Turkey and for the release on bail of all political prisoners during the current pandemic. Free Osman Kavala.

What can you do? Write to Osman with a few words of support: 

Osman Kavala
Silivri Kapalı Ceza İnfaz Kurumu
9 No’lu Cezaevi, A-7 / C 59
34570, Silivri/Istanbul
TURKEY

Please only include words of support for Kavala in your letter, as political messages are usually censored by the prison.

Read more about Osman Kavala on the campaign site

Narges Mohammadi fyller 47 år i fengsel

Den iranske journalisten og menneskrettighetsaktivisten Narges Mohammadi fyller år i fengsel. Skriv til henne!, oppfordrer Asieh Amini.

Bla ned på siden for å lese teksten på persisk/Scroll down to read the text in Persian

I dag, 20. april, har Norsk PENs æresmedlem Narges Mohammadi bursdag. Hun fyller 47 år i fengselet i Zanjan i Iran, langt fra barna Kiana og Ali, langt fra mannen, foreldrene, familie og venner som feirer dagen uten henne. Hun sitter alene i fengselet og kan kun fantasere om hvordan bursdagsfeiringen kunne ha vært. Men kanskje hjelper ikke en gang fantasien for å fremskaffe bildene.

Mens koronaviruset herjer er ikke de politiske fangene trygge i fengsel. Den iranske staten slipper ikke ut politiske fanger til hjemmekarantene. Folk dømt for økonomisk korrupsjon og andre kriminelle har blitt innvilget midlertidig løslatelse, men denne muligheten gjelder ikke Narges Mohammadi, Nasrin Sotoudeh og mange andre fanger som er dømt til lange fengselsstraffer kun på grunn av ting de har skrevet, har sagt eller har tenkt. Det er ytringsfriheten som forhindrer Narges fra å se barna sine på bursdagen sin i karantene.

14. april skrev Narges’ mor sitt fjerde brev til lederen av Høyesterett i Iran og ba ham hjelpe datteren. Hun skrev at Narges’ liv er i fare, akkurat som de andre fangenes liv er i fare. Hun deler celle med kriminelle fanger.

Hun skrev: “Narges forteller at koronaviruset gjør situasjonen mye vanskelige for alle, både fysisk og psykisk. Fangene får ikke møte familiemedlemmer, det er forbudt. Mødre kan ikke treffe barna sine. Fangene har ikke nok mat, frukt og grønnsaker. De har ingen mulighet til å trene aller andre aktiviteter, de har ingen form for underholdning.»

Narges sier: «Siden jeg ble tvangssendt til dette fengselet for tre og en halv måned siden, har jeg vært vitne til mange slagsmål. Men situasjonen nå er forskjellig og verre enn noensinne. For noen dager siden kuttet en fange over blodåren med en kniv rett foran alles øyne. Det var forferdelig! En annen truer meg og andre medfanger med kniv. Alle er veldig sinte og urolige.»

Hva kan vi gjøre? Det samme som når et av våre egne familiemedlemmer er i trøbbel. Skriv for å hjelpe henne! Skriv til den iranske staten og be dem om å la Narges få komme hjem. Skriv i sosiale medier eller der du tror det kan hjelpe, men skriv! Ikke vær taus – Narges trenger å høre «gratulerer med dagen!» , hun som sitter i en mørk, mørk celle i Zanjan.

Av Asieh Amini, styremedlem i Norsk PEN, medlem i Komiteen for Fengslede Forfattere.

Om Narges Mohammadi

Norsk PENs æresmedlem Narges Mohammadi opplevde å bli undertrykket og sensurert for første gang som student. I Iran ble hun utestengt fra å drive med hobbyen fjellklatring, og arrestert for å være med i en reformvennlig valgkampanje. Senere ble alle reformistiske magasiner og aviser hun skrev for stengt av domstolene. Selv om Mohammadi egentlig utdannet seg til å bli fysiker, er hun mest kjent som journalist og menneskerettighetsforkjemper. Mohammadi har blant annet jobbet i Center for Human Rights, grunnlagt av fredsprisvinner Shirin Ebadi. I 2009 fikk Mohammadi forbud mot å engasjere seg for menneskerettigheter – noe hun nektet å gå med på. Siden den gang har hun vært fengslet i flere omganger, og i 2019 var det alvorlig internasjonal bekymring for Mohammadis helsetilstand. Hun ble akutt syk, men fikk ikke nødvendig medisinsk tilsyn og behandling i Evin-fengselet. Norsk PENs Komité for Fengslede Forfattere sendte i 2019 et brev til Irans president og ba om frifinnelse av Mohammadi.

Twenty-four rights-groups call on Turkey to release all those arbitrarily detained, now at risk of Covid-19

Osman Kavala

In the early hours of Tuesday 14 April, the Turkish Parliament passed a law which will lead to the release of up to 90,000 prisoners. However, it excludes scores of journalists, human rights defenders, politicians, lawyers and others arbitrarily detained pending trial or serving sentences following unfair trials under Turkey’s overly broad anti-terrorism laws which facilitate incarceration for exercise of free speech.

While we welcome any measures taken to alleviate overcrowding in Turkey’s prisons, the new measures unjustifiably exclude tens of thousands who are imprisoned for the peaceful exercise of their rights.  ARTICLE 19, Punto24 and the 22 undersigned organisations call on the Turkish authorities to take immediate steps to fulfill their human rights obligations by releasing all those arbitrarily detained for exercising their right to freedom of expression and help mitigate the threat caused by the Covid-19 public health pandemic

The adoption of the law, which is part of the government’s judicial reform strategy announced in 2019, was fast-tracked in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and the need to alleviate overcrowding in Turkey’s prisons. The new law comes into force as Turkey’s Justice Ministry has announced the death of three prisoners from Covid-19 on 13 April. The new law does not apply to individuals in pre-trial detention and also excludes anyone convicted of terrorism-related crimes, espionage or crimes against the intelligence services – laws which are frequently used to prosecute journalists, human rights defenders and others. This means many thousands of individuals whose only crime is the exercise of their right to freedom of expression are effectively excluded from release and are at increased risk of contracting the disease in prison.

Among them are Ahmet Altan, 70, who is awaiting appeal after being sentenced to 10.5 years in prison for “aiding a terrorist organization without being its member”, on the basis of his expression of political views, his previous role as editor of Taraf newspaper, and alleged contacts. It also includes businessman Osman Kavala, who has been in pre-trial detention for over two and a half years, currently on the charge of “espionage” and Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas, who has been in prison since November 2016 and whose release has been repeatedly blocked despite a European Court decision ordering it. Journalists Barış Terkoğlu, Barış Pehlivan, Hülya Kılınç, Murat Ağırel, Ferhat Çelik and Aydın Keser, were remanded in prison in March, on charges under the Law on National Intelligence Agency, in connection with their reporting on the death of an intelligence officer in Libya.

Turkey is subject to the authority of both the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and the European Committee on the Prevention on Torture who respectively have issued calls to “reduce prison populations and other detention populations, wherever possible” and said concerted efforts by all relevant authorities to resort to alternatives to deprivation of liberty “ is imperative, in particular, in situations of overcrowding.”

We likewise urge the Turkish authorities to follow the advice of the World Health Organisation, which strongly recommends States give enhanced consideration to non-custodial measures at all stages of the administration of criminal justice, including at the pre-trial, trial and sentencing as well as post-sentencing stages. It also urges priority be given to conditional release, particularly for older persons, ill people, and others (including pregnant women) with specific risks related to Covid-19. The WHO has made it clear that without taking urgent measures in prisons to reduce the spread of the virus, efforts to control the spread of Covid-19 in the community are also likely to fail.

The Turkish courts frequently justify pre-trial detention on the grounds of flight risk or tampering with evidence. Given the closure of borders due to the pandemic, it is difficult to see what justification there is for holding individuals in pre-trial detention for lengthy periods in what is now an extremely high risk situation.

To protect the human rights of prisoners, including their right to life and health, and to protect the health of the public at large, the Turkish authorities should now enact immediate measures to release all those arbitrarily detained, whether in pre-trial detention or after conviction, particularly given many are vulnerable to Covid-19 due to their age or underlying health conditions. We urge the authorities to move now to prevent a humanitarian disaster. Failure to release those detained and imprisoned in unfair trials and on spurious charges, which would help reduce the spread of a deadly disease in detention, would show further alarming disregard for human rights by the Turkish government.

 

Signatories

ARTICLE 19
Punto24, Platform for Independent Journalism
Articolo21
Association of European Journalists (AEJ)
Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI)
Danish PEN
English PEN
European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)
German PEN
Human Rights Watch
IFoX / Initiative for Freedom of Expression
Index on Censorship
International Press Institute (IPI)
International Federation of Journalists
Norwegian PEN
Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT)
PEN America
PEN International
PEN Turkey
Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO)
Swedish PEN
Turkey Human Rights Litigation Support Project (TSLP)
Wan-Ifra / World Association of News Publishers

Julian Assange er i risikogruppen. Slipp ham ut av fengsel

Onsdag ble Julian Assange nektet løslatelse mot kausjon. Publisisten er i risikogruppen for koronaviruset, og bør slippes ut av fengsel nå.
Julian Assange må løslates fra Belmarsh fengsel.

Presidenten i «Prison Governors Association», Andrea Albutt, har advart om at Covid-19-epidemien vil kreve liv i britiske fengsler. Onsdag 25. mars avleverte Julian Assanges advokater en søknad om at han bør løslates mot kausjon.

Covid-19-trusselen mot innsatte i fengsler er reell. Så langt har 13 personer fått påvist viruset i britiske fengsler.

– Kravet fra Julian Assanges advokater er både betimelig og helt nødvendig for å beskytte hans helse. Det er en kjent sak at Assanges helsetilstand er dårlig. Han har en kronisk lungesykdom og tilhører risikogruppen. Assange må løslates, sier Norsk PENs nestleder, Rune Ottosen.

Dommer Vanessa Baraitser var uenig i advokatenes påstander, og avslo kravet om løslatelse mot kausjon. Det begrunnet dommeren i at fengselet håndterte koronarisikoen, og at hun mente fluktfaren hvis Assange slippes ut er reell.

– Hadde Assange blitt behandlet som en vanlig fange, ville han vært løslatt allerede. Det formelle grunnlaget for fengslingen av ham gjelder brudd på kausjonsbestemmelsene da han søkte tilflukt i den ecuadorianske ambassaden i 2012. Selv etter maksimumsstraffen i lovverket, ville Assange ha blitt løslatt i 2019. Han er nå å regne som en politiske fange, sier Ottosen.

Utleveringssaken mot Julian Assange skal etter planen fortsette med en tre uker lang høring i Woolwich Crown Court fra 18. mai. På grunn av koronaepidemien frykter flere at rettssaken kan utsettes, mens Assange fortsatt holdes fengslet under tunge vilkår i Belmarsh fengsel.

– Flere leger og FNs spesialrapportør for tortur, Nils Melzer, har konkludert med at Assange har blitt utsatt for psykisk tortur. Vi som var til stede under høringene for en måned siden, kunne se at han var i dårlig forfatning. Faren for å bli smittet av Covid-19 er en tilleggsbelastning. Assange bør slippe ut og få skikkelig legebehandling, sier Ottosen.