Turkey: Global stunts and vigils mark 300 days behind bars for Amnesty Chair

- Letter from Taner Kılıç says solidarity actions “have lifted my spirits

- Photographs and spokespeople available

Ahead of today’s international day of action, marking his 300th day behind bars, the imprisoned honorary chair of Amnesty International Turkey, Taner Kılıç, has expressed his heartfelt thanks to all those who have stood in solidarity with him. 

“Photographs taken from the actions organized under the hot sun, rain and the freezing cold have lifted my spirits and reminded me of the importance of international solidarity in the struggle for human rights.”
Taner Kılıç

In a letter sent from Şakran prison in Izmir, where he has been held since 9 June pending the outcome of his trial, Taner Kılıç writes:  

“Photographs taken from the actions organized under the hot sun, rain and the freezing cold have lifted my spirits and reminded me of the importance of international solidarity in the struggle for human rights.” 

In the letter, published today to coincide with stunts to demand his release by campaigners in more than 40 countries, Taner Kılıç goes on to say: 

“In prison it is easy to feel that you will be forgotten, even by your nearest and dearest. But for me, rather than being forgotten, my situation has become known both in Turkey and beyond…I would like to thank everyone who has shown their solidarity for me: supporters and volunteers around the world. You’re always in my mind and prayers.” 

Actions around the world today will include a guerrilla graffiti stunt in Belgium, candle-lit vigils in Chile and a photo stunt in Mali.  

“Three hundred days after he was imprisoned on false charges, people around the globe are coming together to demand an end to this miscarriage of justice and the immediate release of Taner Kılıç,” said Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Europe Director.  

“No evidence has been presented by the prosecution to substantiate the absurd charges against Taner. Incredible as this may seem, he is just one of many in a similar situation and is a potent symbol of the deliberate dismantling civil society during the crackdown.” 

Background

Taner, who became Amnesty Turkey's honorary chair last month after his term as chair expired - was charged with “membership of a terrorist organization.” The central accusation against him is that he downloaded ByLock, the messaging application the state says was used by the Gülen movement, who the Turkish authorities blame for the 2016 coup attempt. 

After 300 days, the state has not provided any credible evidence to substantiate this claim. In fact, four separate independent forensic reports have found that there is no trace of ByLock ever being on his phone. 

His next hearing is set for 21 June. If he is found guilty of charges against him, he could face up to 15 years in jail. 

Actions include:  

Belgium – Guerrilla graffiti action in front of the embassy; Chile - Protest in front of the Turkish Embassy with banner, t-shirts and candles, and petition delivery to Ambassador; Germany – Groups around the country holding events; Ireland – University students holding events around the country; Hong Kong – Action at Victoria Harbour; Mali – Photo action on the day; Netherlands – Former Amnesty Chairs drawing tally marks outside parliament; Paraguay – Three photo actions; Portugal - A grassroots street campaign; Sweden – 15 activist groups holding events around Sweden;  Switzerland – Balloon release in Bern; Venezuela – Protest outside embassy; Slovakia - demo in front of the Turkish embassy in Bratislava https://www.facebook.com/events/232126744191962/