Turkey: Court releases human rights defenders including Amnesty International’s Turkey Director
After more than 100 days in prison, Amnesty International's Director in Turkey, Idil Eser – and all of the “Istanbul 10” - have been released on bail! They were imprisoned in July on entirely baseless terror charges, as part of a widespread crackdown in Turkey.
Thank you to the incredible efforts of human rights supporters around the world who spoke out in so many ways to help bring about this uplifting news.
Amnesty International supporters all over the world have been campaigning for the release of all 11 human rights defenders since their arrests in June and July, through meetings with government officials, rallies, letter writing, public demonstrations, and high profile figures calling for their release. It has been a remarkable period of solidarity and action.
Now, our efforts turn to Taner Kılıç
Unfortunately, the Chair of Amnesty International Turkey, Taner Kılıç, was denied bail in court on October 26th. His case has been lumped in with the cases of the Istanbul 10, and he is being charged based on the allegation that he downloaded and used the ByLock messaging application, claimed to have been used by the Gülen movement to communicate. However, two independent forensic analyses of Taner’s phone commissioned by Amnesty International found that there is no trace of Bylock ever having been on his phone.
Background to the charges
The charges against the 11 (including Amnesty International Turkey Chair Taner Kılıç) include outlandish claims that standard human rights protection activities amount to assisting terrorist organizations. These include appealing to stop the sale of tear gas, making a grant application, and campaigning for the release of hunger-striking teachers. According to the indictment, İdil Eser is linked to three unrelated and opposing terrorist organizations and some of the allegations against her refer to two Amnesty International documents which were issued before she even joined the organization.
The prosecution offered no evidence to support their allegations that the Büyükada workshop, where the arrests took place, was a “secret meeting to organize a Gezi-type uprising” or that any of the defendants were engaged in wrongdoing. Amnesty International has made a detailed analysis of the indictment, addressing each of the allegations made against the 11 defendants.
We will continue to fight to free Amnesty International’s Turkey Chair.
Analysis on the case against Taner can be found here.