A lawsuit was filed against the Saturday Mothers and their supporters on the grounds of incidents that occurred during the Saturday Mothers’ 700th protest action in Istanbul, Turkey.
According to the indictment, the Prosecutor’s Office stated that the press statement of the Saturday Mothers on their 700th action in Galastasaray Square violated the press statement ban. The accusations introduced in the indictment against the Saturday Mothers includes “violation of national security, public order, public morality, public health, preventing the committing of a crime”.
In addition, the prosecutor demanded that the 46 people who participated in the 700th protest action be sentenced to prison for a period of time ranging from three months up to six years. The Saturday Mothers and the Human Rights Association’s (İHD’s) Commission Against Disappearances in Custody released a statement regarding the lawsuit.
According to Duvar’s report, the statement announced that 46 people were detained during the 700th action that was launched with the demand to “find the missing (‘disappeared’) and ensure justice”. It noted that Galatasaray Square had been closed for the Saturday Mothers and peaceful events had been banned for 119 weeks.
According to the statement, the indictment was prepared by Istanbul’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office, the Terror Crimes Investigation Bureau, on the grounds of holding the 700th weekly action and it was sent to the Istanbul Penal Court of First Instance. Also 46 people were filed in a lawsuit on 18 November 2020.
The Saturday Mothers and İHD issued the following statement whilst noting that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) had recently brought Judicial Reform on the agenda in Turkey: “Do not waste our time with your so-called reforms: hear our and society’s demands for justice and open the gates of courthouses to justice”.
Who are the Saturday Mothers ?
The Saturday Mothers began their sit-in protests, following incidents that occurred in the Gazi neighbourhood of İstanbul in 1995, in order to find their missing (‘disappeared’) relatives. The first Saturday Mothers’ sit-in took place in front of Galatasaray High School, located on the İstiklal street of Beyoğlu district of İstanbul on 27 May 1995. Initially launched by a small group, the movement has grown over 20 years and turned into symbolic struggle for human rights defenders.
Since that time, the Saturday Mothers have gathered to peacefully protest about the disappearances of their relatives and loved ones every week. According to a report by Bianet, mothers suspended their activities due to increased oppression in 1999. They began to launch the sit-ins again after 2009.