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Sweden slams Turkey for jailing activist

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Sweden slams Turkey for jailing activist
Ali Gharavi. Photo: Larissa Dickey/handout via TT
07:28 CEST+02:00
Sweden's foreign minister, Margot Wallström, criticized Turkey for jailing a Swedish citizen along with several human rights activists, including Amnesty International's Turkey director.

A Turkish court on Tuesday ordered Ali Gharavi, an IT strategy consultant, and five other human rights activists, to remain in custody for allegedly aiding a “terror” group.

“It is our understanding that Gharavi was in Turkey to participate in a peaceful seminar about freedom of the internet and we have urged Turkey to quickly clarify the grounds for the accusations against him,” Margot Wallström said in a statement.

“(The Swedish government) is greatly concerned about the developments in Turkey, especially regarding democracy, respect for human rights and the principles of (the state),” she added.

Gharavi was attending a workshop on Buyukada, one of the Princes' Islands off Istanbul, on July 5th when police interrupted and detained ten people.

Four were released on bail but, along with the six jailed activists, are facing an investigation for allegedly “committing crime in the name of a terrorist organization without being a member”, Amnesty International said in a statement on Tuesday.

Berlin on Wednesday summoned Turkey's ambassador over the detention of a German human rights activist, Peter Steudtner, who was among the remanded in Turkish custody this week.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has slammed the detention of the six activists as “unjustified” and vowed to speak up for Steudtner at every level.

Sweden and Germany are working closely on the issue, Wallström said.

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