Turkish police officers in plainclothes yesterday raided a digital security training meeting on the island of Buyukuda in Istanbul, seizing equipment and detaining ten attendees, including Idil Eser, the director of Amnesty International Turkey. The human rights defenders are still being held in separate detention centers, and were denied access to lawyers and the press for over 24 hours.
Amnesty's Turkey researcher reports that Eser faces at least seven days pre-trial detention under Turkish law; Global Voices Advocacy says the same for the other Turkish citizens arrested in the raid. The status of the trainers, who are from Germany and Sweden, is currently unknown.
EFF believes that everyone should be free to learn to protect themselves online and that this is information they have the right to share. Digital security trainings like this one are frequently held across the world to educate lawyers, journalists, and human rights advocates on how best to protect themselves and their communities. Teaching or learning these skills is certainly no grounds for detention. By conducting this raid, Turkey joins Iran and Ethiopia as countries where innocent citizens are intimidated and arrested simply for learning the basic principles of modern technology.
We join Amnesty International, HIVOS, Article 19, and the rest of the international human rights community in demanding that Turkish authorities release all the Buyukuda detainees, including the two digital security trainers, immediately.