Rt. Hon. Dominic Raab MP

Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

King Charles Street

Whitehall

London SW1A 2AH

 

Copy to

Rt Hon Lisa Nandy MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

 

Ref. PETITION FOR POLITICAL PRISONERS IN TURKEY

 

Turkey’s Constitutional Court must rule against the discriminatory and potentially lethal amnesty law.

On 14 April the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) passed a discriminatory law that violates the Turkish Constitution. This law offers amnesty, early release or temporary release, for 90,000 prisoners but excludes those prisoners convicted of terrorism-related charges. Those convicted of manslaughter, human trafficking, robbery and extortion, gang violence and corruption are eligible for release but those convicted for exercising freedom of expression, peaceful protest and criticism of the government are to be excluded.

The law was passed in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and overcrowded prisons in Turkey. The prison population has risen by 80,000 in four years with approximately 80,000 people convicted of terrorism-related crimes. Among those convicted are elected MPs, mayors, academics, civil servants, trade unionists, human rights campaigners, musicians and artists, and journalists. As one journalist remarked, ‘If I had a knife in my hand instead of a pen, I would be released.’ Turkey now has the world’s seventh highest incidence of Covid-19 infections. People have died from Covid-19 in Turkey’s prisons. The government is concealing the true number of cases.

The main parliamentary opposition, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), has said it will appeal to the Constitutional Court to repeal or amend the amnesty act as it violates the principle of equality of all before the law. The Turkish government interferes with the country’s judiciary, even sacking and replacing judges.

We ask you to urge the Turkish Justice Ministry to demand that the Turkey’s Constitutional Court rules against the discriminatory and potentially lethal amnesty law.

 

Supported by

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC

Baroness Christine Blower of Starch Green, former GS NUT

Maxine Peake, Actor

Mike Mansfield QC

Gareth Peirce, BirnbergPeirce Solicitors

Geoffrey Bindman, Solicitor

Prof Bill Bowring, Birkbeck, University of London

Gianni Tognoni, Secretary General, Permanent Peoples Tribunal

Geoff Shears, the President of Union Solidarity International and Treasurer of the Institute of Employment Rights

Paul Heron, Solicitor, Public Interest Law Centre

Stephen Knight, Secretary Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers

Paul Scholey, Morrish Solicitors

Chris Jones, researcher and journalist, Statewatch (signing in an

individual capacity)

Dr Thomas Phillips, Senior Lecturer in Law, Liverpool John Moores University

Dr Radha D’Souza, Westminster University

Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Lecturer of Political Sociology, University of Cambridge

Dr Johanna Riha, epidemiologist

Mick Whelan, ASLEF General Secretary

Doug Jewell, General Secretary GFTU

Manuel Cortes, General Secretary TSSA

Stephen Smellie, Deputy Convenor UNISON Scotland

Margaret Gallacher, Chair, UNISON South Lanarkshire

Tara McCarthy, International Officer, UNISON City of Edinburgh

Margaret Owen O.B.E. Barrister and Widows for Peace through Democracy

Melanie Gingell, barrister

Julie Ward, former MEP

Lord Hylton

Lord Rea

Lord Dholakia

Kariane Westrheim, Chair, EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC)

Prof Dr. Michael Gunter, Secretary-General, EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC)

Dafydd Iwan, Former President Plaid Cymru

Stan Newens, President Socialist History Society and Liberation

James Kelman, writer

Bruce Kent

Lindsey German, Convenor Stop the War Coalition

Maggie Bowden, General Secretary “Liberation”

Andrew Burgin, Protect the People

Trevor Rayne, FRFI

Dr Sarah Glynn, Co-Convenor Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan

Rocky Rodriguez Jr, Director/ Writer

David Morgan, journalist

Jonathan Steele, journalist

John Lubbock, journalist

Raghu Jayantiya, social activist

Sarah Parker, human rights campaigner

Annette Lawson, human rights campaigner

Nick Hildyard, policy analyst

Emily Apple, Investigations Editor, The Canary

Eliza Egret, journalist

Shoal Collective

Felix Padel, archeologist

Margaret Healy, retired community organiser

Jonathan Bloch, writer

Saleh Mamon, Campaign Against Criminaising Communitiess (CAMPACC)

Dr. Brendan Burchell, Reader in Sociology, Cambridge.

Dr. Mónica G Moreno Figueroa, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, University of Cambridge

Arsalan Ghani, Engineering Department, University of Cambridge

Dr Les Levidow, Senior Research Fellow Open University

Penelope Dimand, writer and actress

Estella Schmid, Peace in Kurdistan

 

Peace in Kurdistan

Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question

44 Ainger Road, London NW3 3AT

Email: [email protected]

www.peaceinkurdistancampaign.com

Contacts Estella Schmid 020 7586 5892 & Melanie Gingell – Tel: 020 7272 7890

Fax: 020 7263 0596

 

Patrons: John Austin, Baroness Blower of Starch Green, former GS NUT, Prof Bill Bowring, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, Jeremy Corbyn MP,  Prof Mary Davis, Lord Dholakia, Simon Dubbins, UNITE International Director,  Jill Evans, former MEP, Desmond Fernandes, Lindsey German, Convenor STWC, Melanie Gingell, Christopher Gingell, Prof Dr. Michael Gunter, General Secretary, EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC), Rahila Gupta, Nick Hildyard, Dafydd Iwan, Former President Plaid Cymru, James Kelman, Bruce Kent, Jean Lambert, former MEP, Elfyn Llwyd, Aonghas MacNeacail, Scottish Gaelic poet, Mike Mansfield QC, David Morgan, Doug Nicholls, General Secretary, GFTU, Dr. Jessica Ayesha Northey, Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy, Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Kate Osamor MP, Margaret Owen OBE, Ali Gul Ozbek, Former Councillor and Mayor of Haringey; Gareth Peirce, Dr Felix Padel, Maxine Peake, actor, Trevor Rayne, writer, Lord Rea, Joe Ryan, Tony Simpson, Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, Stephen Smellie, PIK Trade Union Liaison Officer, Jonathan Steele, Steve Sweeney, , Gianni Tognoni, General Secretary Permanent People’s Tribunal, Dr Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Dr Tom Wakeford, Dr Derek Wall, Julie Ward, former MEP, Kariane Westrheim, Chair, EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC); Hywel Williams MP.