• Press Release

Turkey’s Prosecution Call for Jail Term of Up to 15 Years for Six Human Rights Defenders, Including Amnesty’s Honorary Chair and Former Director, Defies Logic

November 27, 2019

Amnesty International staff stand in Solidarity with Idil Eser, Taner Kiliç, and other activists detained in Turkey. London, England, 18 July, 2017. Amnesty International Turkey’s Chair and Director as well as other prominent human rights defenders behind bars amid a spiralling crackdown. Amnesty Turkey's Chair, Taner Kiliç, was remanded in prison on baseless charges in early June 2017, and the Director of Amnesty Turkey, Idil Eser, was detained alongside seven other prominent human rights activists in July, 2017. They all face criminal investigations on the absurd suspicion of being members of an ‘armed terrorist organisation’.


Following a request by the State Prosecutor for the conviction of Amnesty Turkey’s honorary chair, Taner Kılıç, former director İdil Eser and four other human rights defenders on terrorism-related charges, Marie Struthers, Europe, Director for Amnesty International, said:

“Today’s vindictive request by the State Prosecutor for jail terms of up to 15 years ignores the evidence and defies all logic.

“The terrorist allegations made against Taner, İdil and four others have been repeatedly disproven over the course of nine previous hearings and it is clear today, as it has been from the start, that the Istanbul 10 and Taner are on trial for nothing more than their human rights work. They must be acquitted.”

If convicted, they risk up to 15 years imprisonment. The next, and presumably final trial hearing, is set to take place on February 19, 2020.


The State Prosecutor requested the conviction of Taner Kılıç on the allegation of “membership of a terrorist organization” and İdil Eser, Günal Kurşun, Özlem Dalkıran, Nejat Taştan and Veli Acu on “assisting a terrorist organization without being a member”. The State Prosecutor requested that Ali Gharavi, İlknur Üstün, Nalan Erkem, Peter Steudtner and Şeyhmus Özbekli be acquitted.

Three of the human rights defenders on trial who are lawyers (Taner Kılıç, Nalan Erkem and Şeyhmus Özbekli) could also lose their licences to practice law after a conviction for a terrorism-related offence.