• Press Release

Celebrities Call on Turkey to Release Amnesty Director and Chair, Still in Jail After 100 Days

AI France staff membres protesting the arrest and detention of AI Turkey director Idil Eser and AI Turkey chairman Taner Kiliç at the Turkish embassy in Paris on 10 July 2017.
Over 20 artists and celebrities, including Zoë Kravitz, Ben Stiller, Mark Ruffalo, and Zach Galifianakis, have joined Amnesty International USA in urging the government of Turkey to immediately and unconditionally release Amnesty’s Turkey Director İdil Eser and Chair Taner Kiliç. In a letter to Ambassador Serdar Kiliç, artists called on him to agree to an urgent meeting with Amnesty International representatives and release all detained human rights defenders. It has been 100 days since their wrongful arrest.

The letter states: “[We] are appalled by the recent imprisonment of two Amnesty International leaders in Turkey…The frequent attack on human rights defenders in Turkey is unjust and simply not acceptable.”

Zoë Kravitz, Nazanin Boniadi, Don Cheadle, Marisa Tomei, Adam McKay, Paul Haggis, Joshua Malina, Fisher Stevens, Claire Danes, Ben Stiller, Whoopi Goldberg, Mike Farrell, Eva Orner, Peter Sarsgaard, Tim Roth, Kathy Najimy, Mark Ruffalo, Zach Galifianakis, Bruce Cohen, Shira Piven, Mike White, Tim Kring, and James McAvoy co-signed the letter.

“Supporters around the world are sending a clear message to the Turkish government. Its relentless crackdown on human rights must end,” said Eric Ferrero, deputy executive director of Amnesty International USA. “For months, activists have languished behind bars under baseless accusations. This indefensible attack on human rights has provoked global outrage, making it clear the world is not going to continue business as usual with Turkey.

“Defending human rights is not a crime. We will continue to fight for the immediate and unconditional release of our colleagues in Turkey, as well as all other human rights defenders unfairly jailed for their activism.”

Ten activists, including İdil Eser, the Director of Amnesty Turkey, were arrested on July 5. Amnesty International’s Turkey Chair, Taner Kılıç, was arrested a month earlier. On October 4, a prosecutor filed an indictment calling for jail terms of up to 15 years for all 11 human rights defenders on absurd and trumped up terrorism charges.

In the coming days, Amnesty International activists in more than 25 countries will hold more than 200 events to call on Turkey to release the human rights defenders. The events coincide with İdil Eser‘s 54th birthday, which she will spend behind bars. These will range from an event in the European Parliament to a press conference in a makeshift prison in Madrid.