Folkebevegelsen for bevaring av vann som felleseie

Criminalization of peaceful actions at the World Water Forum  (Lest 3133 ganger) Skriv ut

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Trude  Tirsdag 17. Mars 2009, kl. 17:50

Barred from entering Turkey for two years.

Account of 24 hours in police custody in Istanbul from 10am on March 16,
2009 to the morning of March 17, 2009*

Ann-Kathrin Schneider, International Rivers, March 17, 2009

On March 16, 2009 at 9.30am, Payal Parekh and me unfolded a banner that
read "No RISKY DAMS" just before the opening ceremony of the World Water
Forum in Istanbul, Turkey. We also shouted "No Risky Dams" about five
times. We were in the middle of the balcony of room 7 at the Sütlüce
Conference Center in Istanbul.

The banner stayed up for about one minute -- after that, security forces
took the banner. One minute later, security forces asked us to leave the
room. We stayed outside of the conference room with about ten security
and police officers for some minutes, while they checked our IDs, which
they kept.

After that, they escorted us to a police room inside of the Sütlüce
Conference Center where they wrote a statement of events, in Turkish.
They asked us to sign the statement, which we refused because we didn't
understand what the statement said. We asked for a translation of the
statement, sentence by sentence, which we did not get.

After that, they led us to a car and drove us to a hospital. They did
not take our cell phones away from us, so we were able to inform our
friends about the developments. At the hospital, they led us to a doctor
who asked us whether we had suffered any injuries, we said that we
hadn't, she signed some papers, and we were escorted back to the car.

The police drove us to Hadic Merkezi Police Station in Beyoglu,
Istanbul. There, a female policy officer did a body search on the two of
us and they took our jewellery and our money, recorded everything we
had, and gave it back to us.

Two lawyers, organized with the help of Turkish friends, arrived. We
told them what had happened. The police finalized their statement and
asked us to sign it. The lawyers translated the Turkish statement
sentence by sentence. Since some details of the statement did not
correspond with how we recalled the events of that morning, we refused
to sign the statement and asked to give our own account of the morning's

Payal then reported the events of the morning to a policy officer. The
lawyers helped translating her English into Turkish and the police
officer wrote down the statement in Turkish. The lawyers translated the
statement for us and both Payal and me signed the statement.

We then waited until about 5pm when our lawyers were called to talk to
the head of the police station. The lawyers came back informing us that
we had to leave the country within a couple of hours if we did not want
to be put in prison for more than one year. They explained to us that
our crime was that we tried to influence public opinion with the
unfolding of the banner.

With the help of friends from Turkey and abroad we organized plane
tickets for Payal to go back to the United States and for me to go back
to Germany in the morning of Tuesday, March 17.

We were then taken to another police station and had photographs and
fingerprints taken and were measured and weighed. After about one hour,
we were sent back to the other police station, where we had spent the
early afternoon, and spent the night there on some chairs in an office.
We declined the invitation to sleep in the downstairs women's cell. A
Turkish friend brought us our luggage from the hotel and we left the
police station at about 6am in the morning towards the airport, in a
police car.

We reached the airport at around 6.30am on Tuesday, March 17 and spent
another one and a half hours at the police station at Istanbul airport,
before being escorted to the check-in desk and the gate by a police

The customs officer told me that I was banned from entering Turkey for
two years. At the gate, the police officer gave me my boarding pass and ID.

We did not receive any documents describing what crime we were convicted
of and the charges. We do not know who ordered our deportation, whether
it was the police or a public prosecutor.