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Following a decision by an Izmir court not to release human rights defender, Taner Kılıç, Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General said:

“Over the last 24 hours we have seen the twin hands of Turkey’s fickle justice system at play. While one grants liberty, the other, confronted with no less baseless charges, takes it away.”

“The release of the Istanbul 10 late last night restored some faith in Turkey’s justice system. Today, that faith has been washed away.

“Turkish authorities have repeatedly and publicly presumed Taner Kılıç’s guilt, on the basis of innuendo and unsupported allegations.

“We will continue undaunted to campaign for the release of our chair and the dropping of the charges against all human rights defenders in Turkey.

BACKGROUND

The judge accepted the prosecutor’s application to join Kılıç’s case with the case against the 10 human rights defenders arrested at a workshop outside Istanbul on the tenuous grounds that he was aware of the preparations for the meeting and in contact with Amnesty International Turkey director İdil Eser about her attendance at it.

Kılıç, the Chair of Amnesty International Turkey, is charged with “membership of the Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization”. This charge is 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 Kılıç’s phone commissioned by Amnesty International found that there is no trace of ByLock having been on his phone.