UEL Chair welcomes statement not to abuse COVID-crisis in Turkey

The rapporteurs of the Council of Europe, who monitor the compliance by Turkey with human rights, have just urged the Turkish government not to abuse the corona crisis. Rapporteurs Hammarberg (SOC, Sweden) and Howell (EC, UK) say they are shocked that a draft amnesty law designed to relieve overcrowded Turkish prisons during this corona era does not seem to apply to politicians, journalists, academics, activists and fired officials, who are detained for exercising their fundamental right to freedom of expression and assembly.

UEL Chair Tiny Kox expressed his sincere gratitude to the co-rapporteurs of the PACE Monitoring Committee:

“I have just thanked our rapporteurs for their clarity on behalf of Europe’s oldest and largest treaty organization, as Chair of the Left Group in Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The Turkish parliament plans to vote on the amnesty law this week. I call for broad international action to put pressure on the Turkish authorities to remove all discriminatory provisions from this law.”

Many political prisoners in Turkish prisons have health problems. One of them is HDP prominent Selahattin Demirtas, who has heart problems and will therefore be extra vulnerable to the corona virus. Chair Kox: “The last time I saw Selahattin healthy and free has been years ago. He has been imprisoned since November 2016, even though the European Human Rights Court in Strasbourg ordered his release more than a year ago. I very much hope that he will now be released at least temporarily, but for that the amnesty law will have to be amended. As it stands, that is not going to happen. Shame.”

Statement co-rapporteurs