Idil Eser: Steps to Freedom
Idil Eser, Director of Amnesty Turkey, was arrested along with nine other participants when police stormed a routine workshop in Istanbul on 5 July 2017. Charged with “aiding a terrorist organization”, two were bailed while the other eight, including Idil, were held in pre-trial detention. Their arrest followed that of Amnesty’s Turkey chairman, Taner Kılıç, who had been imprisoned separately in June. After a global outpouring of action, Idil and her seven co-detainees were granted conditional release on 25 October, while Taner remained in jail.
JULY–SEPTEMBER Thousands of signatures, letters and messages mounted around the world calling for the release of Idil and her colleagues.
10 JULY Amnesty Belgium Director Philippe Hensmans posed in a cage in front of the Turkish embassy in Brussels, Belgium, to protest against the continued detention of his Turkish colleague.
25 JULY Scores of activists came together to protest outside the European Commission in Brussels carrying giant effigies of the 10 human rights defenders. They demanded that the case of the Istanbul 10 be raised at talks due between Turkish and EU ministers.
9 SEPTEMBER Amnesty’s Director Salil Shetty was allowed to visit Idil in jail. Idil released a letter of heartfelt thanks, hope and courage, to be shared with her supporters.
14 OCTOBER Thousands of people gathered at more than 200 parties in 25 countries to mark Idil’s 54th birthday which she had to spend behind bars. The cards read: Happy Birthday Idil. The world is standing in solidarity with you.
25 OCTOBER Idil and her seven fellow human rights defenders were released while their trial continued.
22 NOVEMBER The trial resumed of Idil and the other members of the Istanbul 10, as well as that of Taner Kılıç. The court ruled Taner should remain in prison. The next hearing was set for 31 January 2018.