Ten people, including the local director of Amnesty International, are being detained across various police stations in Istanbul after Turkish police forcibly removed them from a human-rights workshop on Wednesday morning. The workshop, which took place at a hotel in Buyukada, an island south of Istanbul, was scheduled to discuss digital security and information management. Turkish police now say they are investigating the detainees as potential members of an “armed terrorist organization.” A lawyer for some of the detainees said an explanation for the arrests could come as early as Friday, when the detainees are transferred to Istanbul’s police headquarters.
In total, eight of those arrested—including Amnesty International’s Turkey Director, Idil Eser—were human-rights activists. The other two were foreign trainers, with one hailing from Germany and the other from Sweden. Amnesty International reports that all ten detainees were unable to speak to a lawyer for more than 28 hours—a direct contradiction of Turkish law, which states that prosecutors can deny immediate access to a lawyer for up to 24 hours. The organization also reports that detainees were forbidden from contacting family members.