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#FreeErol: Human rights group demonstrate outside Istanbul prison

Düşünce Özgürlüğü/Twitter

This statement was originally published on rsf.org on 24 June 2016.

Many Turkish and international human rights groups took part in a demonstration outside Istanbul's Metris prison today to demand the immediate release of RSF's Turkey representative Erol Önderoglu, Human Rights Foundation of Turkey president Sebnem Korur Fincanci and the writer Ahmet Nesin, who have been detained since June 20, 2016.

The participating organizations, which also called for the withdrawal of all the charges against the three detainees, included the Turkish journalists' union Türkiye Gazeteciler Sendikası (TGS), the Turkish Platform for Independent Journalism P24, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).

They also included the Ethical Journalism Network (EJN), the International Press Institute (IPI), the European Judicial Network (EJN), Amnesty International, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), of which Önderoglu is a board member.

Erol Önderoglu and Ahmet Nesin are being held in Metris prison. Another demonstration will be staged at 4 p.m. today outside Bakirkoy women's prison, where Sebnem Korur Fincanci is being held.

In Paris, RSF and FIDH representatives demonstrated outside the Turkish embassy to press the same demands – the release of imprisoned journalists and respect for the right to provide news and information.
Both Önderoglu and Nesin released letters yesterday expressing their determination to continue defending their free speech rights. The texts of the two letters follow.

23 June 2016
Metris prison
Turkey has persecuted its journalists and opposition members under different regimes but, in recent years, this persecution has broadened and now affects all sectors that are not part of the government.
What we have been able to see in Metris prison is that all our colleagues, lawyers and activists who have faith in democracy, media freedom and freedom of expression and opinion can act together in an effective manner.
I salute the campaign being waged by RSF (of which I am the representative) and by national and international journalists' organizations, writers' associations and human rights groups against the harassment of journalists, lawyers, academics and opposition politicians.
Whether in prison or on the streets, together we will continue the fight for our rights.
Warm regards,
Erol Önderoglu


________________
Dear Friends,
Nowadays nothing is easier than to be jailed in a country that does not respect the rule of law. It is obviously hard to fight for peace and democracy in a country where these principles are neither applied nor even acknowledged. But these difficulties have never affected out faith in freedom.
Our task was difficult in the past and still is difficult. The only difference is that today we face someone who not only does not want democracy but also does not recognize it. As a result, it would be pointless to provide him with any explanation.
Those who think that democracy is nothing more than elections and that getting elected means holding power on their own, without the least opposition, do not know what democracy is and will clearly never want to know. The only explanation for this is fascism. Those who think democracy means holding power on their own don't know what fascism is either. So excuse their ignorance.
I hope we will be the last link. But I don't think so, because we are combatting a lone man who knows nothing. This fascism will probably increase the rifts within the ranks of the AKP so don't be surprised if there are even arrests within the ranks of AKP to put a stop to that.
Fascism has taught me many things but in the course of the past 13 years I have above all learned not to be astonished.
Best wishes,
Ahmet Nesin

________________

Turkey is ranked 151st out of 180 countries in RSF's 2016 World Press Freedom Index.

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