Friday, 6 July
Turkish Embassy in London
43 Belgrave Square
On Friday 6th July 2018 Inminds human rights group will hold a vigil outside the Turkish Embassy in London to urge the Turkish government to put pressure on Israel to release 27 years old Turkish national Ebru Ozkan. Ebru Ozkan was arrested on 11th June 2018 when boarding her flight home at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv following a 4 day holiday in Jerusalem as part of a tour group of over 30 people.
Ebru Ozkan has been arbitrarily caged without charge for 24 days now. She has been accused of “threatening Israel’s security and having links with terrorist groups” – a catch all accusation with no specific charges being levelled. Although she is a Turkish citizen she has been referred to the military court, usually set aside for Palestinians political prisoners under Israeli military occupation where very few rights exist for the defendant and which has a conviction rate of 99.7%. Her military court hearings have been postponed seven times so far with the military asking for more time to try and pin something on her, no doubt through coercive interrogations. In the meantime she is denied bail and is left languishing in prison.
After the last hearing, yesterday, 3rd July, Ebru Ozkan was transferred to Israel’s notorious HaSharon prison where long term Palestinian women political prisoners are caged.
At HaSharon Palestinian women prisoners have to endure beatings, insults, threats, sexually explicit harassment and sexual violence, and humiliation at the hands of Israeli guards. They are often forced to undergo degrading strip searches during the middle of the night – forced to squat naked and subjected to intrusive internal body searches, for no reason other than as a punitive measure. Women have been beaten and left tied to their bed for a day and a half and not allowed to go to the toilet as punishment for spilling water.
The cells at HaSharon prison are overcrowded, dirty and infected with rodents and cockroaches. There is a total absence of basic hygiene, women have even been denied sanitary pads when menstruating. The heat is unbearable, The windows are closed and covered so that hardly any air or daylight can enter. The food is insufficient, and of inferior quality & dirty, often containing insects & worms, at times there are not enough portions for all the women.
Inminds chair Abbas Ali said “We are here to tell the Turkish government to uphold the nations honour and not abandon its daughter, Ebru Ozkan, into Israeli hands. Turkey has immense leveraging power, with Israel being Turkeys 10th largest trading partner with $4.9 billion in trade last year; and with Israel counting on Turkey for the pipeline to carry stolen Palestinian gas to Europe. We are here to ask Mr Erdogan not to abandon Ebru Ozkan, like the victims of the Mavi Marmara massacre were abandoned, but to use that leveraging power to free Ebru Ozkan so she can return home to her family. The Turkish government has the necessary means to secure Ebru Ozkan’s release, if it refuses to do so then they are also complicit in the horror Ebru Ozkan is suffering today in an Israeli dungeon.”