Peter Steudtner Awarded Quaker Peace Prize

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Arrested in Büyükada trial and released after 113 days of detention, Peter Steudtner who is a rights activist and documentary filmer, has been granted Quaker Peace Prize in Germany.

Germany-based Quaker Aid Foundation Director Manuela Kikillus stated that Steudtner was granted the award due to his brave works on peace and human rights.

Making a speech at the prize ceremony held in Berlin last night (December 5), Steudtner said that he overcame the times he spent in prison in Turkey with the help of solidarity:

“This whole solidarity delivered me this message: You and I can overcome together. Now I want to deliver a message:

“Dear Taner Kılıç, Deniz Yücel, Meşale Tolu and David Britsch; I’d like to tell you what Deniz said to me a few days before my release: ‘You will be freed soon!’ But I cannot do this. Instead, I can tell you: ‘You will overcome it!’ You are not alone”.

What happened?

On July 5, 10 rights advocates from various rights organizations were taken into custody during a training workshop with the topic “Protection and digital security of human rights advocates” in Büyükada, one of the Prince Islands in İstanbul. Nothing was heard from detained rights defenders for 30 hours.

It was later revealed that the detention warrant had only been issued five hours after the advocates had already been taken into custody.

On July 11, an additional seven days of detention were issued for the rights advocates.

On July 17, the rights advocates were sent to court for arrest on charges of “committing crimes on behalf of an illegal organization as non-members”, and “being a member of an illegal organization”.

On July 18, Eser, Dalkıran, Kurşun, Acu, Gharavi and Steudtner were arrested. Erkem, Üstün, Taştan and Özbekli were released on probation and an international travel ban was imposed on them.

On July 21, the prosecutor objected to the release of the four rights advocates and a detention warrant was issued for them. Detained while at their homes, Üstün and Erkem were arrested on July 23.

On July 25, Taştan and Özbekli were released on probation with travel bans. Özlem Dalkıran, Peter Steudtner, Ali Gharavi, Veli Acu, Günal Kurşun, İdil Eser and Nalan Erkem are still being kept in Silivri No. 9 F-type Prison and İlknur Üstün is behind bars in Sincan Closed Prison for Women.

According to the indictment submitted to İstanbul Heavy Criminal Court, rights advocate Taner Kılıç, Amnesty International Turkey Chair, who was added to the indictment later as a suspect” faces from 7.5 to 15 years in prison on the charge of “Being a member of an armed terrorist organization” and the other rights advocates are facing from 5 to 10 years in prison on the charge of “committing crimes on behalf of the terrorist organization as non-members” (Article 220/6 of Turkish Penal Code) and “being a member of an armed terrorist organization” (Articles 314/2 and 314/3 of Turkish Penal Code). 

The rights defenders including Steudtner were released on July 25. (ÇT/TK)