An Istanbul court on Thursday (1 February) overturned its earlier decision to release Amnesty International's Turkey chair Taner Kılıç, ordering for him to be kept in jail for the duration of his trial on terror charges.
An Istanbul court on Wednesday (31 January) ordered the release of Taner Kilic, the president of Turkey's branch of Amnesty International, Hurriyet Daily News reports from Istanbul.
"It is an enormous relief that Taner will soon return to his wife and daughters and sleep in his own bed for the first time in almost eight months," Amnesty International's Director for Europe Gauri van Gulik said in a statement following the court's decision. "But we cannot forget that many other innocent people remain behind bars in Turkey without a shred of evidence," she added. "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 the other innocent victims wrongfully caught up in this vicious crackdown," van Gulik said.
The "Istanbul 10" refers to 10 human rights activists detained by Turkish authorities in July while they were attending a human rights workshop on Büyükada, an island near Istanbul. These activists include Amnesty International Turkey Director İdil Eser and two German citizens.
Following the court's order on Jan. 31, the rights group thanked their followers on the organization's Twitter page, saying a million people have called for Kilic's release prior to the conditional release decision on Wednesday.
The Turkish government had accused the group of "aiding armed terrorist organizations" through civil society actions in Turkey. The government had also accused the activists of being members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), far-left DHKP-C and the Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), accused of masterminding the failed July 2016 coup attempt.
A court in Istanbul in October ordered the release of eight human rights activists from prison pending the outcome of their trial on "terror" charges, but ruled to keep Kilic's imprisoned, drawing criticism from human rights supporters around the world.
source: commonspace.eu with Hurriyet Daily News
photo: Taner Kilic
European Commissioner Johannes Hahn held discussions with officials from the South Caucasus on the margins of the Munich Security Conference