Hultgren, Helsinki panel call on Trump to help U.S. prisoners in Turkey
Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL) and the other senior members of the U.S. Helsinki Commission urged President Donald Trump to demand fair treatment of U.S. prisoners ahead of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's recent visit to Washington.
“The Government of Turkey has repeatedly extended its state of emergency authority since the failed coup attempt in July 2016,” the group wrote in a letter to Trump. “Under the state of emergency, Turkish authorities have arrested, detained, and fired scores of alleged coup plotters and thousands of others without due process. We are concerned that, under the state of emergency, at least nine Americans and one consulate employee have been detained and imprisoned on what appear to be false charges.”
U.S.-Turkey relations have been tested by America's refusal to extradite a cleric whom Erdogan says was behind a coup looking to oust him last year and the U.S.-backed arming of Kurdish forces fighting ISIS.
Hultgren and Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), co-chairs of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, signed the letter along with Helsinki Commission leaders Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL).
“All American citizens should receive consular assistance and each of these individuals must be guaranteed timely and transparent due process,” the letter said. “Raising these cases will send a strong and important message that the United States remains deeply committed to safeguarding human rights and the rule of law across the globe.”
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