An Istanbul court on Feb. 1 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.
The court on Jan. 31 had ordered the conditional release of Kılıç, who has been in prison since June, but it reversed its decision on Feb. 1 after the prosecutor appealed the court’s ruling, Amnesty International’s Senior Advisor and Researcher on Turkey, Andrew Gardner, wrote on Twitter on Feb. 1.
Prosecutors claim that Kılıç downloaded ByLock, a messaging application used by supporters of U.S.-based Fethullah Gülen, believed to have orchestrated a failed military coup in July 2016.
His case was merged last month with those of 10 other rights activists, including Amnesty’s Turkey director İdil Eser, who were detained in July 2017 on contested terror charges after holding a workshop on an island off Istanbul.
Eser, German activist Peter Steudtner, Swedish colleague Ali Gharavi and five others were freed in October 2017 for the duration of the trial. But the court ruled to keep Kılıç imprisoned.
The activists are accused of “aiding armed terrorist organizations” through civil society actions in Turkey. The government has also accused them of being members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Gülen movement, and the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Army-Front (DHKP-C).