• Campaigns

Demand justice for murdered human rights defender Tahir Elçi

On 28 November, prominent lawyer and human rights defender Tahir Elçi was shot dead in Diyarbakır, Turkey.  

Tahir Elçi dedicated his life to truth, justice and the pursuit of human rights. He risked his own life to defend the rights of people who were detained, tortured and forcibly disappeared and he brought human rights abuses committed in Turkey to international attention.

This made his voice impossible to ignore, so his opponents looked for ways to silence him. In October, Tahir Elçi was charged and faced seven and a half years’ imprisonment for saying that “the PKK [the Kurdish armed group The Kurdistan Workers Party] is not a terrorist organization, it is an armed political movement with considerable support” on television. This sparked a campaign of intimidation and harassment against him, including death threats made on the telephone and social media.

Tahir Elçi was shot dead in November following a press statement he made, saying "we don’t want guns here, clashes, or [police] operations". Who killed him and why they killed him is still unclear.

The investigation into Tahir Elçi’s murder has started badly. A thorough crime scene investigation was not carried out immediately and the crime scene was not secured, yet the authorities claim to have recovered the bullet that killed him three days after his death .

Email the Turkish authorities asking them to ensure a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into Tahir Elçi's death, and to bring his killer to justice.