A Syrian refugee has told the Guardian he was “just trying to save the world” by helping Syrian refugees fleeing their war-torn country.
Ibrahim al-Zaatari was arrested and detained by police in Turkey in June and is now facing up to 20 years in jail on charges including “participating in terrorist activities”.
He was arrested after his three-year-old son, a refugee from Aleppo, was found at his house and his wife, his wife’s brother and a family friend were also taken into custody, as well as his son.
Al-Zarabi said the family had no idea the family would end up in prison when they arrived in Turkey.
“I was the only one with a camera, a camera to record everything, because the police were trying to arrest us,” he said.
“They took my wife, my children and my mother-in-law.
I thought, ‘I can’t do anything’.
I was just a photographer.
But I couldn’t take it anymore.”
The family of the two children, whose identities are protected, were also arrested.
“The police tried to arrest my father, my son, but they just took my brother and the other people,” Ibrahim said.
He said his wife was also taken in for questioning.
“When they [police] brought me to the station, they said my wife was with a Syrian family.
She was detained for a few days,” he told the news agency.
“My family and I are being tortured.
We can’t see each other.”
Al-Zeabi said he was also denied food, water and medical attention, and that he has been unable to visit his son since his arrest.
The case against Ibrahim al, a Syrian refugee, is being investigated by the Istanbul Metropolitan Police.
Al Jazeera’s Yousuf Abu Rizal, reporting from Istanbul, said the police’s detention policy in Turkey is to “target, arrest and then detain anyone who has been accused of participating in the anti-government protests”.
He said the case against the father is likely to lead to a conviction, and will lead to his family being sent to prison.
“This is a real violation of human rights and a violation of the right to life,” he added.
“There is no excuse for police to detain people and then arrest them.
They should be given a fair trial.”
Amnesty International has warned of the potential for human rights abuses in Turkey, which is currently experiencing its worst crackdown on opposition supporters in decades.
The Turkish government has arrested more than 250,000 people since the uprising against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan erupted in 2014, and in April 2017, the country’s highest court upheld a sweeping anti-terrorism law.