Dear President Erdoğan,
We wish to draw your attention to the damage being done to the Republic of Turkey, to its reputation and the dignity and well-being of its citizens, through what leading authorities on freedom of expression deem to be the unlawful detention and wrongful conviction of writers and thinkers.
In a Memorandum on the Freedom of Expression in Turkey (2017), Nils Muižnieks, then Council of Europe commissioner for Human Rights, warned: “The space for democratic debate in Turkey has shrunk alarmingly following increased judicial harassment of large strata of society, including journalists, members of parliament, academics and ordinary citizens, and government action which has reduced pluralism and led to self-censorship. This deterioration came about in a very difficult context, but neither the attempted coup, nor other terrorist threats faced by Turkey, can justify measures that infringe media freedom and disavow the rule of law to such an extent.
“The authorities should urgently change course by overhauling criminal legislation and practice, redevelop judicial independence and reaffirm their commitment to protect free speech.”
There is no clearer example of the commissioner’s concern that the detention in September 2016 of Ahmet Altan, a bestselling novelist and columnist; Mehmet Altan, his brother, professor of economics and essayist; and Nazlı Ilıcak, a prominent journalist – all as part of a wave of arrests following the failed July 2016 coup. These writers were charged with attempting to overthrow the constitutional order through violence or force. The prosecutors originally wanted to charge them with giving “subliminal messages” to coup supporters while appearing on a television panel show. The ensuing tide of public ridicule made them change that accusation to using rhetoric “evocative of a coup”. Indeed, Turkey’s official Anatolia News Agency called the case “The Coup Evocation Trial”… read more:https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/28/nobel-laureates-president-erdogan-turkey-free-writers
Nobel Laureates Tell Myanmar’s Civil Leader: ‘Wake Up Or Face Prosecution’
Three Nobel Peace Prize winners sent a stark message to fellow laureate Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday: Bring an immediate end to the massacre of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, or face prosecution. Iran’s Shirin Ebadi, Yemen’s Tawakkol Karman and Northern Ireland’s Mairead Maguire are on a week-long humanitarian trip to Bangladesh, which now hosts some 700,000 Rohingya refugees. They say they’re planning to “take Myanmar’s government to the International Court of Justice.”
Security forces in Buddhist-majority Myanmar have waged a gruesome crackdown against the minority group over the past six months, causing mass displacement. Human rights groups have documented widespread, state-sanctioned violence against Rohingyas in western Myanmar, including rape, torture, shootings, arson and other forms of abuse and crimes against humanity.
Human rights activists have accused Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s civil leader and a former political prisoner and activist during the country’s decades-long military dictatorship, of turning a blind eye to the crisis, increasingly described as a genocide. She has neglected to condemn the atrocities committed against Rohingyas, and has even rejected critical reports as “misinformation.”
As Myanmar’s government has tightened restrictions on desperately needed aid supplies and services in Rakhine state, Suu Kyi’s inaction has drawn rebukes from world leaders and sparked protests around the globe. Some activists have discussed revoking the Nobel Peace Prize she won in 1991 for “her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights.”.. read more: