Turkey arrests Amnesty International head in Gulenist sweep

Turkey arrests Amnesty International head in Gulenist sweep

The head of Amnesty International Turkey, Idil Eser, was taken away along with activists and trainers during a “digital security and information management workshop” on Büyükada, one of the Princes’ Islands off Istanbul, the human rights organisation said in a statement.

A total of 12 people were arrested in a police raid on a hotel on the island, a popular retreat with Istanbul residents, the Hürriyet newspaper reported.

There was no immediate comment from the police or indication of why the rights activists were being held.

"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," Amnesty International’s secretary general, Salil Shetty, said.

He said they must be immediately and unconditionally released. The whereabouts of those detained were unknown, the Guardian reported.

The detentions come less than a month after Amnesty International’s Turkey chairman, Taner Kiliç, was remanded in custody on what the group described as “baseless charges” of links to Fethullah Gülen, who is accused of masterminding the failed coup on 15 July 2016. Gülen denies any involvement.