AI board chair Kılıç detained after another court ruled for his release


A Turkish court late on Wednesday ordered that Taner Kılıç, chairman of the board of Amnesty International Turkey, be kept in detention after another court had earlier in the day ruled for his release, Turkish media reported.

A prosecutor on Wednesday evening appealed Kılıç’s release to the Istanbul 36th High Criminal Court, which agreed and decided that the human rights defender’s detention should continue.

Andrew Gardner, AI’s senior advisor and researcher for Turkey, tweeted earlier in the day that “the prosecutor appealed the court decision to release him. We don’t know if the appeal court has made a decision. What we do know is that there has been an arrest warrant issued and that Taner has been taken out of prison and into Gendarmerie custody.”

Kılıç has been behind bars since June 6 over alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of being behind a failed coup last year.

A lawyer, a founding member of AI Turkey and chairman of its board of directors since 2014, Kılıç was arrested by an İzmir court on June 9 along with 22 other attorneys as part of an investigation into the Gülen movement.

On July 5 Turkish police, acting on an anonymous tip, raided a hotel on Büyükada, one of the Princes’ Islands off İstanbul, and detained Al’s Turkey chief Idil Eser, İlknur Üstün from the Women’s Coalition, lawyer Günal Kurşun from the Human Rights Agenda Association, lawyer Nalan Erkem from the Citizens Assembly, Nejat Taştan from the Equal Rights Watch Association, Özlem Dalkıran from the Citizens’ Assembly, lawyer Şeyhmus Özbekli, Veli Acu from the Human Rights Agenda Association and two foreign trainers, Ali Garawi and Peter Steudtner.

An İstanbul court on Oct. 25 ruled to release eight human rights activists, including Eser.

On Oct. 26,  a court in Izmir ruled for the continuation of the pre-trial detention of Kılıç while combining his case with the activists’ Büyükada case.

Taner Kılıç is the only suspect still jailed in the Büyükada case.

During a press conference in Hamburg on July 8 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused the human rights defenders of plotting a follow-up to a July 15, 2016 coup attempt.

On July 11, the pro-government Star daily accused human rights defenders detained in Turkey of being linked to US intelligence agency the CIA and the UK’s MI6, while another pro-government newspaper, Yeni Şafak, on July 23 claimed that the rights activists had ties to the German BND intelligence service.

Another staunchly pro-government daily, Güneş, said on July 21 that the human rights activists were plotting a coup attempt when they were detained by Turkish police.


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