Turkey: Court releases human rights defenders including Amnesty International’s Turkey Director

Following a decision by a court in Istanbul to conditionally release eight human rights defenders while their trial continues, Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General said:

“Today, finally, we celebrate that our friends and colleagues can go back with their loved ones and can sleep in their own beds for the first time in almost four months. 

Our friends and colleagues can finally go back with their loved ones and can sleep in their own beds for the first time in almost four months
Salil Shetty, Amnesty International

“But any joy is tainted by the ongoing detention of Amnesty International's chair, Taner Kılıç, whose separate trial is due to start tomorrow.

“These politically motivated 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.

Tonight we take a brief moment to celebrate, but tomorrow we will continue our struggle to ensure that Taner, İdil and their colleagues are acquitted of these baseless charges
Salil Shetty, Amnesty International

“Tonight we take a brief moment to celebrate, but tomorrow we will continue our struggle to ensure that Taner, İdil and their colleagues are acquitted of these baseless charges. We will not stop until the charges are dropped and all of them are free.”

For more information or to arrange an interview on the ground or in London contact Stefan Simanowitz on press@amnesty.org or stefan.simanowitz@amnesty.org or 0044 (0) 20 7413 5566 or ozgun.ozcer@amnesty.org.tr +90 531 105 42 67

BACKGROUND

Ten activists, including İdil Eser, the Director of Amnesty Turkey, were arrested on 5 July, whilst Amnesty International’s Turkey Chair, Taner Kılıç, was arrested a month earlier. They are accused of “membership of a terrorist organization”.

Taner Kılıç will also appear at a hearing tomorrow in Izmir on a separate charge of “membership of the Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization”.