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Turkey

    March 20, 2018

    Following long-awaited landmark rulings today by the European Court of Human Rights which found that journalist Mehmet Altan and columnist Şahin Alpay’s rights to liberty and security, and freedom of expression, had been violated, Amnesty International’s Europe Director, Gauri van Gulik said:

    “Today’s rulings are a resounding vindication for these two journalists and a damning indictment of Turkey’s justice system. That Mehmet Altan and Şahin Alpay were kept in jail on pre-trial detention for almost 20 months is not only unjust but also unlawful.

    “This ruling cements what was already common knowledge: that they – like more than one hundred other journalists in Turkey - were imprisoned simply for doing their important journalistic work.

    “Starting with Mehmet Altan, the doors of Turkey’s prisons must now be flung open allowing journalists, activists and human rights defenders including Amnesty International’s chair, Taner Kılıç, to walk free.”

    Background

    March 09, 2018

    Following a court ruling today that Cumhuriyet’s editor in chief, Murat Sabuncu, and prominent journalist, Ahmet Şık, should be released from jail, Amnesty International’s Europe Director, Gauri van Gulik said:

    “After well over a year in prison on pre-trial detention, the release of these two journalists is long-overdue. The decision provides a glimmer of hope for the scores of other journalists behind bars in the country that has become the biggest jailer of journalists in the world.

    “As Ahmet and Murat are reunited with their loved ones, shamefully, their colleague Akın Atalay will be led back to the prison cell where he has been held for more than sixteen months.

    “Akın Atalay and all other wrongfully imprisoned journalists must be immediately and unconditionally released and charges against them dropped. It is time for Turkey to let journalists do their essential work freely.”

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    February 14, 2018

    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.

    February 01, 2018

    After spending almost 8 months in jail on unjust charges, an Istanbul court ordered that Amnesty Turkey Chair Taner Kiliç be released on bail on January 31st. In unprecedented flip flop later that day the court overturned its decision and Taner was re-arrested and returned to detention as his friends, family and colleagues waited for him to be released. This is a cruel and disgraceful move by the Turkish government. Their continued crackdown on human rights defenders in Turkey is an affront to justice.

    We need you to take action to help free Taner. Here is how you can get involved:

    1. TAKE ACTION NOW

    Sign and share our action demanding that Taner be released immediately and unconditionally

    >>SIGN NOW

    2. Organize in your community

    Organise a protest outside the Turkish Consulate in your community or another public space; and share on social media using the hashtag #FreeTaner

    February 01, 2018

    The decision to renew the detention of Amnesty International’s Turkey Chair mere hours after a court ordered his release must be immediately reversed and Taner Kılıç set free, said Amnesty International.

    “Over the last 24 hours we have borne witness to a travesty of justice of spectacular proportions. To have been granted release only to have the door to freedom so callously slammed in his face is devastating for Taner, his family and all who stand for justice in Turkey,” said Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Salil Shetty.

    "To have been granted release only to have the door to freedom so callously slammed in his face is devastating for Taner and his family."

    “This latest episode of his malicious detention has dashed the hopes of Taner and those of his wife and daughters who were waiting by the prison gates all day to welcome him into their arms.”

    January 29, 2018

    More than one million people from 194 countries have demanded the release of Amnesty International’s Turkey Chair, Taner Kılıç and the dropping of charges against him and 10 other human rights defenders as their trial resumes in Istanbul on 31 January.

    The 11 face trumped up “terrorism” charges in what can only be described as a politically motivated prosecution aimed at silencing critical voices within Turkey. If convicted they could face jail terms of up to 15 years.

    “With overwhelming evidence of his innocence and none of any wrongdoing Taner’s release is long overdue. The fact that he has spent almost eight months behind bars speaks volumes about Turkey’s flawed justice system and the government’s ruthless pursuit of those who stand up for human rights,” said Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe.

    “Today’s hearing offers yet another opportunity to end this glaring miscarriage of justice allowing this principled and passionate human rights defender to return to his family and resume his vital work. The court must acquit Taner and the other 10 human rights defenders and end this farce once and for all.”

    November 22, 2017

    Responding to today’s decision by the Istanbul Court to continue the pre-trial detention of Amnesty International’s Turkey Chair, Taner Kılıç, John Dalhuisen said:

     

    “Today in court lawyers for the defence and an independent expert witness demolished the prosecution’s arguments. All the evidence shows Taner is innocent but this evening he was nevertheless sent back to the overcrowded cell where he has spent more than five months.”

    “The court’s decision to ignore this evidence and continue his detention flies in the face of reason. It is yet another opportunity missed to correct a gross injustice. We will continue to fight for his release and for the dropping of all charges against both him and the Istanbul 10.”

    The next court hearing has been set for 31 January, 2018

    ++++++++++++++++++

    For media inquiries, contact: Jacob Kuehn, Media Relations at (613) 744-7667 ext 236 or jkuehn@amnesty.ca 

     

    November 22, 2017

    Edward Snowden, Catherine Deneuve, Sting, Ai Weiwei, Angélique Kidjo, Anish Kapoor, Francois Morel and MPs sign open letter

    More than 70 renowned cultural and political figures have come together to demand that Turkish authorities drop trumped-up terrorism charges against 11 human rights defenders, including Amnesty International’s Turkey Director and Chair.

    The call made by more than 30 politicians and scores of artists - including Edward Snowden, Sting, Ai Weiwei, Anish Kapoor, Catherine Deneuve, Angélique Kidjo - comes as the trial of the 11 resumes in Istanbul on charges which carry jail terms of up to 15 years.

    “We are proud to add our voices to the global demand to end this gross injustice and to immediately and unconditionally release Taner Kılıç from jail,” they write in the letter.

    “When human rights defenders are silenced, all our rights are put at risk. They are the ones that stand up for us. Now we must stand up for them.”

    October 26, 2017

    After more than 100 days in prison, Amnesty’s Director in Turkey, Idil Eser – and all of the “Istanbul 10” - have been released!  They were imprisoned in July on entirely baseless terror charges, as part of a widespread crackdown in Turkey. 

    Thank you to the incredible efforts of human rights supporters around the world who spoke out in so many ways to help bring about this uplifting news. Had they been convicted, they could have faced jail terms up to 15 years.

    Amnesty supporters all over the world have been campaigning for the release of all 11 human rights defenders since their arrests in June and July, through meetings with government officials, rallies, letter writing, public demonstrations, and high profile figures calling for their release. It has been a remarkable period of solidarity and action.

    October 26, 2017

    Following a decision by an Izmir court not to release human rights defender, Taner Kılıç, Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General said:

    “Over the last 24 hours we have seen the twin hands of Turkey's fickle justice system at play. While one grants liberty, the other, confronted with no less baseless charges, takes it away.”

    “The release of the Istanbul 10 late last night restored some faith in Turkey's justice system. Today, that faith has been washed away.

    “Turkish authorities have repeatedly and publicly presumed Taner Kılıç’s guilt, on the basis of innuendo and unsupported allegations.

    “We will continue undaunted to campaign for the release of our chair and the dropping of the charges against all human rights defenders in Turkey.

    BACKGROUND

    The judge accepted the prosecutor's application to join Taner's case with the case against the 10 human rights defenders arrested at a workshop outside Istanbul on the tenuous grounds that he was aware of the preparations for the meeting and in contact with Amnesty International Turkey director İdil Eser about her attendance at it.

     

    October 25, 2017

    Campaigners vow to continue fight to free Amnesty International’s Turkey Chair

    Following a decision by a court in Istanbul to conditionally release eight human rights defenders while their trial continues, Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General said:

    “Today, finally, we celebrate that our friends and colleagues can go back with their loved ones and can sleep in their own beds for the first time in almost four months.

    “But any joy is tainted by the ongoing detention of Amnesty International's chair, Taner Kılıç, whose separate trial is due to start tomorrow.

    “These politically motivated prosecutions are an attempt to silence critical voices within Turkey but have only served to highlight the importance of human rights and those who dedicate their lives to defending them.

    “Tonight we take a brief moment to celebrate, but tomorrow we will continue our struggle to ensure that Taner, İdil and their colleagues are acquitted of these baseless charges. We will not stop until the charges are dropped and all of them are free.”

    BACKGROUND

    October 24, 2017
    Trumped up terror charges against the Istanbul 10 exposed Forensic analysis shows Amnesty Chair did not download Bylock Spokespeople available on the ground for trials on October 25 & 26

    Click here to follow the trial on Twitter

    Trumped up terror charges against 11 human rights defenders, including Amnesty International’s Turkey director and chair, do not stand up to the slightest scrutiny, said Amnesty International as court proceedings begin in Istanbul and Izmir.

    The charges against them - carrying jail terms of up to 15 years and set out in two indictments to be heard in two separate trials – are entirely baseless.

    “From the moment of their detentions, it has been clear that these are politically motivated prosecutions aimed at silencing critical voices within Turkey,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director.

    October 18, 2017
    European Parliament President calls for release of Amnesty Turkey Director Spokespeople available

    Ahead of the 19-20 October European Council meeting, which is expected to issue conclusions on Turkey, Iverna McGowan, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office, said:

    “EU leaders must publicly condemn the brutal and protracted crackdown on human rights defenders and journalists in Turkey, and stand firmly on the side of human rights. They must call for the immediate and unconditional release of all those wrongfully imprisoned in Turkey, including our colleagues.”

    Amnesty International yesterday held a birthday party for its Turkey Director Idil Eser in the European Parliament. This was joined by a number of MEPs, including the Chair of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights Antonio Panzeri and the European Parliament President Antonio Tajani who both called for her release.

    October 17, 2017

    Baseless allegations against 11 human rights defenders, including Amnesty International’s Turkey director and chair, should have been rejected in their entirety, said Amnesty International after an Istanbul court accepted the indictment today.

    “This indictment fails to provide a shred of incriminating evidence to substantiate the trumped up terrorism charges it contains. In accepting this indictment the Istanbul Court has missed a golden opportunity to bring this grotesque miscarriage of justice to a halt,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director.

    “This is politically motivated prosecution aimed at silencing the work of some of Turkey’s most prominent human rights defenders. It beggars belief that anyone who has read the fantastical allegations laid out in the indictment could see it in any other way.”

    For more information or to arrange an interview contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

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