Document - Amnesty International News Service 10/95
NEWS SERVICE 10/95
TO: PRESS OFFICERS AI INDEX: NWS 11/10/95
FROM: IS PRESS OFFICEDISTR: SC/PO
DATE: 12 JANUARY 1995 NO OF WORDS: 899
NEWS SERVICE ITEMS: EXTERNAL - TURKEY - Please refer to News Service 06/95 for further details. (This item is being sent to Turkey media by the research team).
INTERNAL - SUDAN CAMPAIGN INFORMATION, ICM - MEDIA SEMINAR FOR SLOVENIAN JOURNALISTS
INTERNATIONAL NEWS RELEASES
Sudan - 25 January - SEE NEWS SERVICES 275 AND 261
UN Commission on Human Rights - 31 January - SEE NEWS SERVICE 06/95
Turkey - 8 February - SEE NEWS SERVICE 261
Northern Iraq - 28 February - SEE NEWS SERVICE 266
TARGETED AND LIMITED NEWS RELEASES
Sudan campaign launch
1. In recent days, the fact that Amnesty is launching a campaign on Sudan has been mentioned by AFP in Cairo, and in Liberation in France. We have contacted both AFP, and other international agencies, asking them not to publicize the campaign and ensuring that they will get the campaign information in advance.
At this stage, these are not serious embargo breaks since they have not included the substance of our report but merely the fact of the launch. However, since the campaign launch is being reported already this heightens the risk of a substantial embargo break before 25 January. We would therefore ask section press officers to take special care in contacting their media and distributing the campaign materials to ensure that we don't have a serious embargo break before the launch date.
2. As with the Indonesia campaign, the Sudan researcher will be carrying out additional research in the region in the week before the launch. The purpose is to provide up to date information on our campaign concerns to make our launch more newsworthy, and to be able to tell the media that we have been researching the concerns in the run up to the launch. The outcome of this research may require changes to the news release to make it as current as possible, or may result in a news service item which sections can use in addition to other material for the launch. If there will be any updating of the news release, sections will be notified by 23 January.
3. The outcome of both the research and the advance preparation by Casey Kelso in Nairobi may result in changes to the opening press conference statement by Pierre Sané. Any changes to the opening statement will be made by 23 Jan, and the statement will be sent to sections through the news service.
4. The embargo date for the launch has been set at 10 am Nairobi time (xx gmt). Part of Casey's advance work in Kenya is to confirm that this is the best time to hold in press conference in Nairobi, and by Monday (16 Jan) he will either confirm or advise that a half hour change is desirable. We will let sections know by Monday is there is to be any change.
ICM -- Media seminar for Slovenian journalists
As part of the campaigning activities in the run up to the 1995 ICM in Slovenia, a media seminar is being organized by the Slovenian section for their media.
The section would like to use the seminar to stimulate interest in the media in reporting on human rights, and impress upon them the important role they play in raising awareness of human rights.
To do this, they would like to have a senior journalist from Europe make a presentation about the work s/he has done in reporting on human rights, and stress the important role that media has in raising social issues.
We would ask section press officers to let us know if there are any journalists in their country who they think could play this role. It would be helpful if you could tell us something about the journalist and the kind of human rights reporting s/he has done. Your information can be sent to Anita Tiessen at the IS.
News Service 10/95
AI INDEX EUR 44/WU 02/95
12 JANUARY 1995
TURKEY: HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS ACQUITTED
Amnesty International welcomes yesterday's acquittal of six human rights defenders by Ankara State Security Court in hearings observed by an Amnesty International delegate.
Yavuz Önen, President of the Turkish Human Rights Foundation (TIHV); Fevzi Argun, board member of the TIHV; Akın Birdal, President of the Turkish Human Rights Association (HRA); Hüsnü Öndül, General Secretary of the HRA; Sedat Aslantaş, lawyer and former president of Diyarbakır HRA; and Erol Anar, editor of the HRA's newsletter were being tried under Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law for allegedly "separatist" statements in publications dealing with human rights. Article 8 carries a prison sentence of up to five years.
Not all of the six walked free, however. Sedat Aslantaş remains in Ankara Closed Prison, where he is serving a three-year prison sentence imposed under Article 8 for a speech he made in October 1992 at the HRA's annual general meeting. His speech contained no advocacy of violence, and Amnesty International considers him a prisoner of conscience. Five other officials of the HRA are currently in prison in consequence of statements and publications made in the course of their human rights work.
On 12 January a hearing in a separate trial against Akın Birdal at Ankara State Security Court was postponed.
Amnesty International will continue to press the Turkish Government to repeal or revise Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law (Law 3713) and other provisions of the Turkish Penal Code to ensure that in future no person is imprisoned for the expression of his or her non-violent beliefs.