Appeal for immediate intervention to prevent the summary trial of 90 Syrian detainees in Turkish prisons
41 Organizations call for immediate action to free Syrian detainees from Hilvan Prison in Turkey’s Sanliurfa province, Amid fears for their lives after the spread of coronavirus pandemic, and unfair sentences against them.
UN Secretary-General: António Guterres,
UN High Commissioner: Michelle Bachelet,
We, signatory Syrian organizations, are making this appeal to express our concern about the fate of more than 90 Syrian detainees, who were transferred to Turkish prisons in late 2019 after spending various periods in unofficial detention centers of the Turkish-backed “National Army”, affiliated with the National Coalition for Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces.
According to the collected and verified information, the arrests were conducted in rural areas of the two towns of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn (Sere Kanye), and they took place in late October and November 2019, during the period immediately following Operation Peace Spring, which was waged on October 9, 2019, and resulted in the occupation of the region by Turkey.
The detained persons are Syrian citizens of different ethnic backgrounds, including “Arabs and Kurds”, and it was verified that some of them were subjected to ill-treatment and extracting confessions from them under pressure and coercion in Syrian territories before being transferred to Turkey.
In addition, certain information was obtained indicating that the detainees were transferred to the Hilvan Prison in the Turkish province of Sanliurfa and they were conveyed to the “AĞIR CEZA MAHKEMESİ” court. The following charges were brought against them:
- Breaching the unity of the Turkish state.
- The attempt to divide the country (Turkey).
- Joining a “terrorist” force (referring to the Syrian Democratic Forces SDF, the People’s Protection Units YPG, and others).
Their court appearance had been scheduled in early April 2020, but it was postponed indefinitely, due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in Turkey.
The transfer of Syrian citizens into Turkish territory to appear before its courts and be tried according to its laws without committing any assault on its territory against its citizens or their property is considered a violation of the international law and norms; only Syrian courts have the right to hold them accountable if found guilty.
Turkey is considered to be an occupying force in Syria, though not declaring it officially yet. Turkey must, therefore, act in accordance with the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their additional protocols; Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” It also prohibits the “individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory”.
Accordingly, we, the signatories of this appeal call:
- To pressure the Turkish government to prevent it from involving detainees transferred from Syria in arbitrary trials.
- To give impartial and independent international commissions and organizations full access to detainees and their files.
- Allow the families and relatives of the detainees to communicate with them.
- Release the detainees and return them to the Syrian territory.
- Adel Center For Human Rights
- Adopt a Revolution
- Albaghouz hope Development
- ALHasakah Organization for Reliaf and Development
- Ataa Development
- Avarin for Kurdish Women Association
- DAN for Relief and Development
- Democratic woman network
- Documentation Center in North Syria
- Dream charity
- Equal Citizenship Center
- Ezdina Foundation
- Fraternity Foundation for Human Rights FFHR-Birati
- Gerke leke charity
- Hope Smile Organization
- Human rights organisations afrin-syria
- Human Rights Organization In Jazeera
- Human Rights Organization in Syria – MAF
- Judi charity for development and relief
- Khanaf Associationfor Relief and Development
- Kurdish Committee for Human Rights-Rased
- Kurdish Legal committee Violation
- Lekolin Centre for Studies and Legal Researches
- NABD Organization
- Omid center for revive civil society
- Peace and Freedom Center for Civil Society
- Peace andcivil society center
- Peace She-Leaders Network
- PÊL- Civil Waves
- Rights Defense Initiative
- Sanabel Al Furat Humanitarian
- Sara organization to combat violence against women
- Share Center for civic Development
- Shaushka Women Association
- Ster organization for development
- Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM)
- Syrians for Truth and Justice
- Tayif Organization
- Tulip Organization to Support Women and Kid (TSWK)
- Violation Documentation Center in North Syria
- Vision Organization