Freedom for Hamza Yalçin
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May we be in no way complicit with the dictatorial regime of Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Hamza Yalçin, the Swedish writer and journalist of Turkish origin, was arrested the 3rd of August past, in the El Prat Airport, and since then he has been imprisoned in Can Brians prison (Barcelona). The Spanish police arrested him executing an arrest warrant issued by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which accused the writer of belonging to a terrorist organization, which does not exist, and of slandering the Turkish president in some of his articles. On the 24th of August the Spanish National High Court dismissed Hamza’s petition for freedom pending resolution of the extradition case.
- Hamza Yalçin is a journalist with a long and fruitful history, who had to abandon Turkey because of his struggle in defense of civil and political rights. He was persecuted for his militancy and ideology, and obtained political asylum and Swedish nationality. Now he is being pursued outside of his country for doing his job: explaining the reality of Turkey, where there are consistently fewer rights and guarantees for the population that does not subscribe the Erdogan regime. As occurs with all journalistic and writing professionals, their right to freedom of expression and ideology must always be guaranteed. Just as freedom of the press and the right to information of all citizens must be preserved. When a journalist cannot express himself or herself freely, all society suffers a loss.
- We understand that this arrest is framed within the repressive campaign of Turkish president Erdogan who, in particular since the failed coup d’état of July 2016, has imprisoned judges, lawyers, district attorneys, members of Human Rights organizations, journalists and writers under false accusations of terrorism, for the purpose of silencing voices that discomfit his government. And he continues to exercise repression upon any organization or class of organizations that do not contribute to the message he imposes. In this regard, one of the most affected collectives has been the press and communications professionals, who have seen how more than two hundred journalists have been imprisoned in a short time, and are awaiting trials that never take place. They have also witnessed the continual closing of media outlets, under the legal protection of anti-terrorist legislation. Nowadays thousands are in prison in Turkey for arbitrary reasons and without guarantees, as they await trial. Turkey has been defined by another Turkish journalist, Can Dündar, as “the biggest prison in Europe.”
- We are concerned that the Spanish State is taking on a complicit role in the repression of the free press and in the imprisoning of voices dissident with the Turkish regime. It is a grave issue that a democratic state should be applying a dangerous complicity with the Turkish authorities, executing an order from Interpol that it was not under obligation to execute. Other European states have not heeded the Turkish requests and have refused to collaborate with their authorities in the imprisonment and repression of political dissidence.
- We decry the lack of independence of the Office of the Attorney General, which should be safeguarding rigorous compliance with Human Rights and not acting under political and corporative criteria. Its representatives have not called out the grave dangers that underlie the current proceedings both for Hamza Yalçin and for freedom of press and expression. At every state it has had a role entirely contrary to Hamza’s freedom, maintaining his ingress to prison until resolution of the extradition and systematically opposing the request for release presented by the defense.
- We demand, therefore, that the National High Court act independently of the political interests of the Spanish government and act to ensure the strict respect of Human Rights, stipulating the immediate release of Hamza Yalçin and rejecting his extradition.
- In addition, we demand that the Spanish government, on which the resolution of the extradition of Hamza Yalçin ultimately depends, deny the extradition of the Swedish journalist, with a clear and unequivocal commitment to the defense of Human Rights, rights that Turkey is systematically violating.
- Finally, it must be recalled that Hamza Yalçin is a European citizen, who was accorded the condition of political refugee in 1987, until he received Swedish nationality in 2006. The international protection offered by Sweden responded to the fact of have been a person persecuted for his ideas and his political struggle in his country of origin and having been tortured while in captivity in Turkey, as well as having been condemned to death in Turkey.
- We demand that the Spanish authorities under no circumstances contemplate the possibility of extraditing him to Turkey. In the first place because it is unfitting, as the accusations are based on false accusations in the framework of a campaign of repression of the free press. To accept as valid the judicial farce originated by the Turkish authorities would be to establish a grave precedent for all persons who have chosen to write in their struggle for freedom in their countries of origin. Any person who seeks to explain the world through words, who find themselves forces to seek refuge in our countries. In the second place, because there is no guarantee that their physical and moral integrity will be respected. Turkey has suspended the application of the European Convention on Human Rights and there are accusations from many international organizations regarding the existence of tortures and extra-judicial executions. As Hamza Yalçin has been condemned to death in Turkey, nothing guarantees that the Turkish authorities will not carry out this sentence, since the Turkish executive is reconsidering restoration of the death penalty.
For all the above reasons, we demand the immediate freedom without conditions of Hamza Yalçin, and the denial of his extradition to Turkey, as well as the immediate ceasing of collaboration of the Spanish State with the Turkish Government, which is lacking in democratic guarantees and respect for Human Rights.
Translated by: Mary Ann Newman
COL.LEGI DE PERIODISTES DE CATALUNYA
AELC- Associació d’Escriptors en Llengua Catalana
ACAT - Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture
ACEC- Associació Col·legial d’Escriptors de Catalunya
ASSOCIACIÓ DE PERIODISTES EUROPEUS DE CATALUNYA
AZADÍ - Plataforma de Solidaritat amb el Kurdistan
COORDINADORA PER A LA PREVENCIÓ I DENÚNCIA DE LA TORTURA
IL·LUSTRE COL·LEGI D'ADVOCATS DE BARCELONA
ITACA - Organització Internacionalista dels Països Catalans
LA SETMANA DEL LLIBRE EN CATALÀ
NOVACT - International Institute for Nonviolent Action
OBSERVATORI DEL SISTEMA PENAL I ELS DRETS HUMANS
RAIG VERD EDITORIAL
RED INTERNACIONAL DE PERIODISTAS CON VISIÓN DE GÉNERO
SPC- SINDICAT DE PERIODISTES DE CATALUNYA
TIGRE DE PAPER EDICIONS
XARXA INTERNACIONAL DE DONES PERIODISTES
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