The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has ruled that the Turkish government broke international law when they arrested cartoonist Musa Kart and multiple colleagues from Cumhuriyet newspaper last November.
In a report circulated in its “advanced, unedited” form by the Right Livelihood Foundation the working group describe the event of their arrest, the rationale for their continued imprisonment and indictment and the prevailing circumstances as they awaited trial over the intervening months.
CRNI have verified the authenticity of the report with a contact in diplomatic circles.
Cumhuriyet wrote about the findings earlier this week, noting the working group’s particular concern over restrictions placed on visiting hours and access to legal representatives, saying:
“…the Turkish government did not give a specific explanation as to why the restrictions imposed on communication with lawyers were necessary. ‘Even worse, the recording of the negotiations and the seizure of the documents make it impossible for the lawyer to have access to the lawyer and therefore fair trial,’ stressing that the Working Group is not convinced that an interview with a lawyer once a week is enough time to prepare for the defense of justice. The Working Group expressed its opinion that while public order had to be maintained after the coup attempt, a ‘less intrusive measure’ or a ‘balance should be established in favor of having the right to a lawyer’.
The Working Group’s report concludes:
“The deprivation of liberty of Messrs. Önder Çelik, Turhan Günay, Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Kadri Gürsel, Hakan Kara, Haci Musa Kart, Murat Sabuncu, Bülent Utku, Güray Tekin Öz and Akin Atalay, being in contravention of articles 10, 11 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of articles 14, 15 and 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, is arbitrary” and “taking into account all the circumstances of the case, the appropriate remedy would be to release [the afore mentioned] immediately and accord them an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations, in accordance with international law.”