Amnesty International Urges Turkey to Free Detained Activists

  • Group’s Turkey director, seven other activists detained
  • German, Swedish trainers held alongside activists, it says

Amnesty International called on Turkish authorities to release a senior member of its local chapter and seven other human rights activists who the group said were detained in Istanbul on Wednesday.

Idil Eser, director of Amnesty International Turkey, and seven other activists were in Istanbul’s Buyukada district for a workshop, the organization said in an emailed statement on Thursday. The whereabouts of the eight, as well as a Swedish and a German trainer who were with the group, remain unknown as they’ve not been allowed access to lawyers, Amnesty said.

“We are profoundly disturbed and outraged that some of Turkey’s leading human rights defenders, including the Director of Amnesty International Turkey should have been detained so blatantly without cause,” the group said.

Though it wasn’t immediately clear what triggered the latest development, it comes as the government faces mounting criticism from human rights groups who accuse it of cracking down on dissent and curbing freedom of speech. Turkey’s interior ministry declined to comment when reached by phone.

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