Imperative Statement on our client Peter Steudtner
İstanbul, July 25, 2017: On 5 July 2017, human rights defenders on Istanbul's Büyükada Island were unfairly arrested during a workshop on secure internet use and coping with stress.
While lawyers could not get access to any evidence, documents and information on the file due to a restriction order on the investigation since the arrest of the rights defenders including our client; dailies Akşam, Güneş, A Haber, Star and some other media outlets continue to publish and broadcast false news and reports, which they obtained through means unknown to us, as well as unfounded claims intended for misleading the public opinion, not worth being called "news", clearly and deliberately stripped of facts, context and essence. These publications and broadcasts have turned into smear campaigns targeting the clients with unfounded claims.
Statements reported by the dailies Akşam, Güneş and Star this morning (July 25, 2017) with the headline "German chip for the spies" and recounted as if directly spoken by our client, Peter Steudtner, such as "thanks to a software in our mobiles, the consulate watches us step by step" and other phrases in the same line have nothing to do with the truth or honesty.
For this reason, we, defence counsels, deemed it imperative to make this statement.
Words "German chip", "espionage", "software in the mobile" are fanciful.
Our client, Peter Steudtner, is a citizen of Germany. According to the Consular Law in force in Germany;
"In cases where persons traveling abroad for a long or short time are partially or fully harmed by natural disasters, accidents or any other conditions caused by such situations as crisis or state of emergency in that country, an internet-based form is used for information purposes by millions of Germans travelling abroad so that their relatives could be informed and the German consulate could help them and their families."
- There is no software downloaded on Peter Steudtner's mobile to keep his track.
- Our client Steudtner has filled that optional form to indicate the dates and address of his stay in Turkey as he does when travelling to many other countries so that consular representatives could provide help and inform his relatives should he suffer an accident or be harmed for any reason.
- This form, intended only to inform the relevant German consulate through internet, is used by millions of people traveling to countries outside Germany and is directly derived from explicit German laws. It is a practice that every state that protects its citizens should follow.
- The form filled by the client for information purposes is not confidential, but is optional, and all registration processes are transparently posted on the website. (See elefand.diplo.de)
- Given a strong likelihood that something may happen to him, like being harmed at a bomb attack when travelling to Turkey, a country where the state of emergency is continuing and where recently saddening bomb attacks have taken place, what is more natural than filling in such an information form so that his family and relations could be informed if such risks come true? Our client filled in the form when travelling to Turkey, as he does when traveling to all other countries.
- The form is used by millions of people, in contact with consulates of Germany not only in Turkey but all over the world.
Our client's statement is a response to the biased media's allegations of a "secret meeting".
The same media outlets that have put forward slanderous claims about Peter Steudtner have also issued claims of a "secret meeting" in Büyükada.
Peter Steudtner's statement is a reply to the unfounded allegations of these media outlets. Peter Steudtner stated that he had filled in the information form before arriving in Turkey, so that his family can be informed and consular officers may provide help in case an accident occurs to him or he is harmed, adding that the meeting was not secret and that he shared the information on the hotel and dates of his stay transparently and openly with the relevant official institutions, disproving the unfounded claims of the same media outlets.
Some media outlets such as Akşam, Star and Güneş obstruct the clients' right to fair trial.
Due to unfounded claims appearing in media, millions of German citizens (including nationals of Turkey) and their relatives, families are accused of espionage.
We will file a criminal complaint about Star, Akşam and Güneş, dailies acting deliberately to slander the clients and mislead the public opinion on grounds of violating our clients' right to fair trial and presumption of innocence as well as statements and declarations which constitute an offence according to the Turkish Penal Code, and we will not hesitate to seek all remedies available for the compensation of damages sustained by our clients.
We urge an end to slanderous and fanciful statements.
To those media outlets issuing fanciful and slanderous reports about the clients, we announce that unfounded, untrue statements without any proof and publications targeting the clients violate the most fundamental rights of the clients, and we publicly call for an end to such publications.
PETER STEUDTNER 'S DEFENCE COUNSELS
Murat Deha Boduroğlu
Alp Tekin Ocak
O. Meriç Eyuboğlu
Beydağ Tıraş Öneri
Mehmet Nur Terzi
Ayşen Funda Ata