Following a decision by a court in Istanbul to conditionally release the Chair of Amnesty International Turkey, Taner Kılıç, after nearly eight months in detention, Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Europe Director said:
“It is an enormous relief that Taner will soon be back with his wife and daughters, sleeping in his own bed for the first time in almost eight months. But we cannot forget that many other innocent people remain behind bars without a shred of evidence in Turkey.”
“These unfounded prosecutions are an attempt to silence critical voices within Turkey but have only served to highlight the importance of human rights and those who dedicate their lives to defending them.
“Today we take a brief moment to celebrate, but tomorrow we will continue our struggle to have all charges dropped against Taner, the Istanbul 10, and all other innocent victims wrongfully caught up in this vicious crackdown.”
While Kılıç has now been released, the trial against him, director of Amnesty International Turkey İdil Eser, and the other nine human rights defenders on trumped-up terrorism related charges continues. It is one of many baseless prosecutions against members of civil society under the crackdown in Turkey.
Kılıç was detained on June 6, 2017 and sent to jail three days later, where he has been ever since. Ten other activists “the Istanbul 10”, including Eser, were detained a month later. Eight of them were held for almost four months before being released on bail at their first hearing in October.
The Istanbul 10 were accused of “membership of a terrorist organization,” a baseless allegation for which the prosecution has yet to provide any concrete evidence that would stand up to scrutiny.