Taner in the mountains © Private

Open letter ahead of the upcoming trial of Taner Kılıc and the Istanbul Ten

On Wednesday the trial of 11 human rights defenders including Taner Kılıç, and İdil Eser the chair and director of Amnesty International Turkey, will resume in Istanbul.

The 11 face outlandish “terrorism” charges in what can only be described as a politically motivated prosecution aimed at silencing critical voices within the country. If convicted they could face jail terms of up to 15 years. This sends a chilling message not just to people in Turkey but around the world.

We are proud to add our voices to the global demand to end this gross injustice and to immediately and unconditionally release Taner Kılıç from jail

70+ signatories

With many people unfairly imprisoned as part of the crackdown following the bloody coup attempt in Turkey – including journalists, lawyers and civil society leaders – some may ask why focus on these 11 people? The answer is simple: when human rights defenders are silenced all our rights are put at risk. They are the ones that stand up for us. Now we must stand up for them.

When human rights defenders are silenced all our rights are put at risk

70+ signatories

We are proud to add our voices to the global demand to end this gross injustice and to immediately and unconditionally release Taner Kılıç from jail.

The Turkish authorities must know that the eyes of the world will be on Istanbul’s central court for this trial. We will not stay silent. Defending human rights is not a crime.


Edward Snowden, human rights defender

Sting, musician

Catherine Deneuve, actor

Ai Weiwei, artist

Angélique Kidjo, musician

Anish Kapoor, artist

Peter Gabriel, musician

Francois Morel, actor

Elif Shafak, author

Bianca Jagger, human rights activist

Juliet Stevenson, actor

Indira Varma, actor (Game of Thrones)

Mogens Lykketoft MP, ex-President of the UN General Assembly

Nacho Sanchez Amor, OSCE Human Rights Committee Chair

Mirosław Wyrzykowski, Constitutional judge, Poland

Dr. Shashi Tharoor MP (former UN Under-Secretary General)

Ryan Gage, actor

Pasha Bocarie, actor

Nazanin Boniadi, actor

HK, musician

C 215, artist

Lucas Belvaux, film maker

Laurent Gaudé, writer

El Moustach/Hicham Gaoua, artist  

Said Salhi, Vice president of LADDH (Algeria)

Salil Shetty, Amnesty International Secretary General

Ken Roth, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch

Claude Rolin MP (Belgium)

Tanita Tikaram, musician

Mohamed Fahmy, journalist

Peter Greste, journalist

Mark Oakley, Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral

Peter Tatchell, human rights defender

Natacha Régnier, actor  

Franck Pavloff, writer

Emily Loizeau, musician

Romain Goupil, film director

Nicolas Lambert, comedian

Clotilde Courau, comedian

André Dahmer, cartoonist

Luiz Eduardo Soares, anthropologist and writer

Sérgio Haddad, professor

Flávia Oliveira, journalist

Ricardo Henriques, economist

Sueli Carneiro, philosopher

Pilar del Río, president of the José Saramago Foundation

Anti-Flag – Punk Rock group

David Lammy MP (UK)

Caroline Lucas MP (UK)

Stephen McCabe MP (UK)

Tom Brake MP (UK)

Catherine West MP (UK)

Carol Monaghan MP (UK

Joan Ryan MP (UK)

Christopher Stephens MP (UK)

Kevin Brennan MP (UK)

Jim Cunningham MP (UK)

Rosie Cooper MP (UK)

Eleanor Smith MP (UK)

Wes Streeting MP (UK)

Stephen Doughty MP (UK)

Daniel Zeichner MP (UK)

Stephen Kinnock MP (UK)

Geraint Davies MP (UK)

Marie Rimmer MP (UK)

Grahame Morris MP (UK)

Antoinette Sandbach MP (UK)

Madeleine Moon MP (UK)

Tonia Antoniazzi MP (UK)

Preet Gill MP (UK)

Phillipa Whitford MP (UK)

Sarah Wollaston MP (UK)

Gareth Thomas MP (UK)

Emma Dent Coad MP (UK)

Hilary Benn MP MP (UK)

Tommy Sheppard MP (UK)

Jo Stevens MP (UK)

Kerry McCarthy MP (UK)

Richard Burden MP (UK)

Olivier Py, France

Paul Rondin, France

Monika Płatek, President of the Polish Association for Legal Education

Adam Bodnar, former board of United Nations Fund for Victims of Torture

Mikołaj Pietrzak, former Chair of the Human Rights Council of the Polish Bar Council

Krzysztof Śmiszek, co-founder of Polish Society of Anti-Discrimination Law

UK Motion signed by British parliamentarians. Tabled on 15 November 2017 – https://www.parliament.uk/edm/2017-19/546

Tonia Antoniazzi, Hilary Benn, Peter Bottomley, Tom Brake, Tim Farron, Hugh Gaffney, Stephen Gethins, Helen Hayes, Lady Hermon, David Lammy. Clive Lewis, Caroline Lucas, Steve McCabe, Ian Mearns, Carol Monaghan, Joan Ryan, Jim Shannon, Dennis Skinner, Andy Slaughter, Chrisotpher Stephens, Jo Swinson, Catherine West.   

Letter signed by 14 US Senators, 24 October 2017

Senators John McCain, Marco Rubio, John Cornyn, Bernie Sanders, Martin Heinreich, Richard Durbin, Benjamin Cardin, Christopher Coons, Chris Van Hollen, John Boozman, Edward Markey, Tammy Baldwin, Robert Menendez, Jeanne Shaheen https://www.amnestyusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/mccain-menendez-letter-to-president-trump-re-turkey-s-edrogan-10-25-17-1.pdf

Letter signed by 8 members of the US Congress, 16 October 2017

Sen Robert F Wicker, Rep Christopher H Smith, Sen Benjamin L Cardin, Rep Alcee L Hastings, Sen Marco Rubio, Rep Randy Hultgren, Sen Thom Tillis, Reb Robert B Aderholt, Rep Gwen Moore, Rep Sheila Jackson Lee https://www.amnestyusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/20171016-Helsinki-Comm-Letter-to-President-Erdogan-FINAL.pdf

Letter signed by Hollywood stars – 12 October 2017

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 https://www.amnestyusa.org/press-releases/celebrities-call-on-turkey-to-release-amnesty-director-and-chair-still-in-jail-after-100-days/

A number of well-known UK also supported the campaign for the release of Taner and the Istanbul 10 over previous months including:

Graham Linehan, Ken Loach, Rae Morris, Stephen Fry, Sir Patrick Stewart, Simon Rix, Paul Bettany, David Shrigley, Hollie McNish, Pasha Bocarie

Letter signed by French personalities – 7 July 2017

Sophia Aram, comédienne ; Robert Badinter, ancien président du Conseil constitutionnel français, Professeur émérite à l’université Paris I – Panthéon-Sorbonne; Juliette Binoche, comédienne; Jane Birkin, chanteuse; Jacques Bouyssou, Avocat, Ancien Membre du Conseil de l’Ordre; Hamit Bozarslan, directeur d’études, EHESS; C215, Graffeur; Dan Franck, écrivain; Olivier Gluzman, manager de Jane Birkin et directeur des Visiteurs du soir; Kaddour Hadadi (HK), chanteur; Isabelle Huppert, comédienne; Agnes Jaoui, comédienne; Angélique Kidjo, chanteuse; Nicolas Lambert, comédien; Marc Levy, écrivain; François Morel, comédien; Franck Pavloff, écrivain; Natacha Régnier, comédienne; Paul Rondin, Directeur délégué du Festival d’Avignon; Lambert Wilson, comédien; Camille Blanc, présidente et Sylvie Brigot-Vilain, directrice générale, Amnesty International France; Umit Metin, coordinateur de l’Assemblée Citoyenne des Originaires de Turquie – ACORT; Sylvie Bukhari de Pontual, Présidente Comité Catholique contre la Faim et pour le Développement – CCFD; Bernard Dreano, Président du CEDETIM, cofondateur du réseau Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly International; Michel Tubiana, président réseau Euromed Droits; Bénédicte Jeannerod, Directrice générale France, Human Rights Watch; Malik Salemkour, Président Ligue des Droits de l’homme ; Renée Le Mignot, présidente du Mouvement contre le Racisme et pour l’Amitié entre les Peuples – MRAP; Dominique Attias, Vice Bâtonnière et Frédéric Sicard, Bâtonnier de l’Ordre des Avocats de Paris; Christophe Deloire, Secrétaire général Reporters sans frontières; Clarisse Talon, présidente Syndicat de la Magistrature; Vincent Lanier, Premier secrétaire général, Syndicat National des Journalistes – SNJ; Martin Pradel, avocat et Directeur des droits de l’Homme de l’Union Internationale des Avocats. http://www.liberation.fr/debats/2017/07/17/appel-pour-la-liberation-d-idil-eser-et-des-defenseurs-des-droits-humains-en-turquie_1584443