|Intimidation of Human Rights Defender in Turkey|
Diplomatic intervention safeguards Human Rights Watch researcher
A prominent human rights defender has been safely returned to the UK following his arrest by Turkish police yesterday. He was deported under instructions from the Ministry of Interior this morning.
Jonathan Sugden, the long-term researcher on Turkey for Human Rights Watch's London office, was arrested at his hotel on 12 April 2006. Authorities say his arrest was for failing to inform them about the activities he was undertaking in the country. Human Rights Watch (HRW) says authorities were manifestly aware of his presence in the country, as he had made requests to meet with officials in advance of his visit.
Sugden is a British citizen and had been in Bingol in the Kurdish region of east Turkey to meet with officials, non-governmental organisations and affected communities on the subject of internally displaced people (IDPs). HRW are currently researching the implementation of Law No. 5233 which purports to give domestic redress to some internally displaced people, although it has faced persistent criticism for its shortcomings.
Kurdish Human Rights Project strongly condemns the decision to arrest and deport the researcher, believing it to send a dangerous signal to all other human rights defenders and organisations in the country.
Kerim Yildiz, executive director, says, “This arrest was intended to intimidate and deter human rights defenders from visiting Turkey . Human Rights Watch enjoy the relative protection of international awareness. Sadly, many human rights defenders in Turkey do not.”
Kerim Yildiz or Rochelle Harris at +44 (0) 207 405 3835
Kurdish Human Rights Project (KHRP)
11 Guilford Street
London WC1N 1DH
Tel: +44 (0)207 405-3835
Fax: +44 (0)207 404-9088