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Arrests in Turkey

German government criticises transfer to a different prison

Turkey has transferred Peter Steudtner to a different prison. The German government is observing this with concern, reported Federal Foreign Office spokesperson Martin Schäfer.

A Turkish flag flies in Istanbul. The German government has criticised the way the Turkish authorities have dealt with Peter Steudtner, who is being held in Turkey Photo: picture-alliance / dpa

It is feared that the transfer will result in a deterioration of the conditions under which Steudtner is held. The German government continued to demand that Turkey release the human rights activist.

The German government considers the accusations levelled at Peter Steudtner to be unfounded and disproportionate, reported Federal Foreign Office spokesperson Martin Schäfer, on Monday in the government press conference. He demanded that the human rights activist be released immediately and investigations against him ended.

It has now emerged that Peter Steudtner has been transferred to another Turkish prison. Neither his lawyers not his home country were informed about the transfer. There has been no review of his detention and no apparent progress on the investigation against him. "We must fear that this will result in a deterioration of the conditions under which Mr Steudtner is being held," said the spokesperson. Germany regrets the communication policy of the responsible Turkish authorities, he said, as well as the transfer itself.

"Completely contradictory" prejudgement

Last week Martin Schäfer severely criticised the prejudgement of the imprisoned German national by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He said, that it is "very difficult to accept" that Turkish politicians prejudge cases in a way that is both absurd and "completely contradictory".

The Federal Foreign Office spokesperson was referring to statements issued by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, that Peter Steudtner was a spy and wanted to divide Turkey. Turkish newspapers have published extracts from the interrogation of Peter Steudtner. His remark that he had registered with the German Federal Foreign Office as a precautionary measure has been taken as the basis for an accusation that the human rights expert was involved in espionage.

One of the fellow human rights activists arrested on 5 July 2017 with Peter Steudtner was a Swedish national. Peter Steudtner and the other speakers of the human rights organisation Amnesty International are accused of supporting an armed terrorist organisation. Deniz Yücel, Mesale Tolu and other German nationals have been remanded in custody in Turkey on similar charges.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017