Avaaz staffer Özlem was arrested in Turkey

Avaaz staffer Özlem was arrested in Turkey and is being held without charges — let’s free her!


Turkey just arrested Özlem, an Avaaz staffer! She’s just one person caught up in a crackdown on civil society, but to us she’s so much more. If we make Özlem famous with a massive petition and media campaign, she’ll be more trouble than she’s worth for a government in political crisis. Add your name to the urgent petition and let’s set her free:

Dear friends,

Turkey just arrested Avaaz staff member Özlem! Let’s set her free.

Özlem’s being held without charges after attending a meeting of human rights defenders.

To the Turkish government, she’s just one person caught up in a crackdown on civil society.

But if we build a massive international petition and use the media to make Özlem famous, she’ll be more trouble than she’s worth for a government in political crisis.

Our petition will be delivered to the EU foreign minister ahead of a crucial meeting with Turkey in 24 hours — so add your name urgently and let’s set Özlem free:

Click to free Özlem!

Turkey’s President Erdogan is arresting and firing thousands of people who don’t agree with his government. Now Özlem’s been caught up in the net, together with 9 other human rights defenders, but she isn’t a valuable target. As Turkey heads into critical meetings with the EU over a trade deal in 24 hours, the last thing Erdogan needs is an international headache over someone he’s probably never heard of.

But to us, she means so much. She works at Avaaz because she shares so many of our values. For years she’s worked so hard for a world where people can organise for peace, justice, and human rights without being sent to jail. She’s brought hundreds of our campaigns alive for Turkish Avaazers.

Now she’s being held under threat of ridiculous armed terrorism charges! The closest Özlem has been to any arms is the tear gas and the batons used AGAINST her in the countless times that she’s fought for justice.

It’s time we stand up for Özlem, and the others arrested with her, by shining our giant spotlight on her imprisonment. When a million sign, we’ll deliver our call directly to the EU foreign minister in 24 hours, ahead of a meeting to up the pressure — let’s set Özlem free:

Click to free Özlem!

Our community has stood alongside human rights defenders in places from Saudi Arabia to Morocco, from Canada to Indonesia. It’s at the very heart of what our movement’s about. But now, one of our own is in trouble — and depending on us to help. Let’s come together as never before for Özlem and her friends.

With hope,

Danny, Alex, Marigona, Luca, Emma and the rest of the Avaaz team

More information:

Turkey detains 10 at human rights meeting, U.S., EU concerned (Reuters)

Turkey crackdown: Rights groups outraged by latest arrests (BBC)

Turkey must free jailed human rights defenders (Amnesty International)

Rights defenders ‘must not be silenced,’ says UN office, urging Turkey to release activists (UN)

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