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Nurcan Baysal

Nurcan Baysal

HRD & Journalist
Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk

Nurcan Baysal is a Kurdish human rights defender and journalist from Diyarbakir, in the Kurdish region of Turkey. As a direct result of her human rights work documenting human rights violations in the region, Baysal has attracted the enmity of nationalists and pro-government groups and individuals. She receives death threats and abusive messages via email, social media and telephone messages on a daily basis. In January 2018 she was detained in connection with her tweets calling for peace and condemning the Turkish government’s military incursion in Afrin and in February 2018, in a separate case, she was found guilty of demeaning the Turkish security forces in an article that she wrote in 2016 criticising the Turkish military operation in the Kurdish town of Cizre. Sentenced to a 10 month jail term, she was released on the condition that she not repeat the offence within five years.


Nurcan Baysal in Diyarbakir

Human rights defenders (HRDs) in Turkey have been subjected to judicial harassment, including criminal prosecution, violent attacks, threats, surveillance, prolonged arbitrary detention, and ill-treatment. In the aftermath of an attempted coup in July 2016, the environment for the work of HRDs deteriorated even further.

Through the wide-ranging use of State of Emergency laws, the Turkish government has significantly infringed on the rights to freedom of expression, media, assembly, and association, and has particularly restricted the liberty of those engaged in human rights work. These laws enable even further human rights violations, as HRDs often do not have the freedom to monitor the activities of the security forces, who have been granted extensive powers.