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. 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,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director.
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The 11 defendants are set to have their first hearing on 25 October in Istanbul. Taner Kiliç is set appear before an Izmir court under a separate indictment on 26 October 2017. Amnesty International will be sending observers to both trials and will publish a critique of the case against them next week.
Ten activists, including İdil Eser, the Director of Amnesty Turkey, were arrested on 5 July whilst Amnesty International’s Turkey Chair, Taner Kılıç, was arrested a month earlier. Under the indictment accepted today, they are accused of membership of a variety of ‘armed terrorist organizations’. These charges carry jail terms of up to 15 years.
On 4 October an Istanbul prosecutor filed an indictment against the Istanbul 10 that included Taner. This means, as well as being tried on 26 October, he will also be tried on 25 October in the “Büyükada case”. In the indictment, the prosecutor called for Taner to be added to the trial because he claims he was aware of preparations for the Büyükada workshop and was in contact with İdil and another of the defendants.