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Freedom Activist Huda Kaya unlawfully detained, again

Huda Kaya; a writer, activist and a former politician focusing on women’s rights and minority ethnic population’s rights  in Turkey has been unlawfully detained in early November on ‘suspicion of escaping (fleeing) the country’ and is being kept in solitary confinement. 

Her previous work on defending against the hijab ban in public during February 28th 1997 post-modern coup of Turkey and having faced death penalty along with her 3 daughters had shown her strong determination on resistance against freedom violations, which attracted attention all around the world regarding the freedom to exercise one’s religion in Turkey at the time. 

She later became part of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (Turkish: Halklarin Democratic Partisi, HDP) and represented Istanbul constituency. Due to the government shut down of the party, she was kicked out of the parliament. She is in trial without arrest for Kobane trial, along with 108 former members of the party. The trial has been ongoing for 7 years, and many international human rights organisations along with European Court of Human Rights called for an immediate release of members wrongfully imprisoned in this ‘political trial’.

Her request to testify has constantly been rejected for the last 7 years of this case. On 27th September 2023, the government called her a ‘fugitive’. This was appealed with her proof of residency, contact numbers and other evidence of her having been to the government buildings recently. It was also highlighted again that she can testify for the case anytime, and able to travel within the country if that was necessary.

On the 1st of November 2023, she was travelling abroad for a meeting, which was reported to the government twice. She arrived in the airport 5 hours ago in case of  the need to testify before departing, and no problem occurred at the passport check. 10 minutes before the departure, she was detained for having a suspicion of ‘fleeing the country’ and is kept in the solitary confinement since. 

In this case, many violations of international laws are done by the Turkish government. Including the People’s Democratic Party’s closure by the government due to allegedly branding them as “terrorists” with no evidence, the party’s support to the right to protest against the targeted attack in the Kobane area, with no indication or advocacy of violence being included in supporting the protest but having blamed for ‘terrorist activity’ due to violence occurred within individuals during the protests. The politicians being detained and trialled on those grounds solely due to their affiliation with the party do not indicate a working justice system in Turkey.

Huda Kaya has been fighting for freedom of expression in the country, inclusive of all religious, ethnic and gender considerations to allow for equity in the country. She has also been fighting for the allegations made against her, stated her request to testify has been rejected for the last 7 years while she has been in the country, and her trip abroad is being used to label her as ‘fugitive’ and show the unjust political game being played in the background of the case. We, as Rights Defenders, recognise the unfair treatment against the members of the Peoples’ Democratic Party; and call for Huda Kaya’s immediate release.


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