Bounties in the age of online policing: this is what justice looks like in Turkey
You might remember Bahar. We wrote about him when he had to fight against an abusive INTERPOL alert.
INTERPOL deleted that alert, but Turkey still won't give up.
Now, the Turkish government is listing Bahar and others on a website identifying alleged terrorists. The site offers rewards for information leading to their capture.
Turkey’s government has taken increasingly authoritarian steps against its own citizens since the failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in July 2016. There were the 50,000 people arrested under the pretext of preventing terrorism, including journalists, academics, human rights activists and other political opponents of the regime.
There have been the abusive INTERPOL alerts. We've documented Bahar's case, but there are others. Last year there was Hamza Yalcin and Dogan Akhanli, arrested in Spain, both incidents reportedly on the basis of INTERPOL Red Notices. Rather than being terrorists, both are actually prominent writers. And these are just a couple of the higher profile cases, Fair Trials has been involved in dozens more involving Turkish abuse of INTERPOL in the last few years.
Turkey is using these methods, and INTERPOL’s processes, to pursue legitimate protesters and human rights defenders and sidestep laws designed to protect them. By putting a price on the heads of its enemies online, Turkey has effectively used fear to silence its opponents, some of whom have been attacked on European soil.
Fair Trials has written to the President of the European Commission, urging the commission to prevent Turkey from targeting its critics within the EU. You can read the letter here.
Want to know more about INTERPOL?
INTERPOL is an important tool in the fight against crime, but it is being misused by authoritarian regimes to target journalists, activists, and refugees. Fair Trials is campaigning to reform INTERPOL to prevent this abuse from ruining lives.
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