Friday, March 31, 2023

European Court of Rights: Turkey illegally jails Amnesty chief

ISTANBUL ( Associated Press) – Turkey has illegally detained the head of the country’s Amnesty International branch for 14 months, the European Court of Human Rights said in a ruling on Tuesday.

Tanner Kilic was arrested in June 2017 following his arrest, suspected of belonging to the Ankara group, on charges of carrying out a 2016 coup attempt.

However, the Strasbourg-based court ruled that there was no reasonable basis for suspicion to warrant his detention, which was “unlawful and arbitrary”.

It also ruled that his imprisonment on a second set of terrorism-related charges was “directly linked to his activity as a human rights defender” and therefore interfered with his freedom of expression.

The court ordered Turkey to pay 24,500 euros ($26,300) in damages and 10,000 euros ($10,735), which upholds the European Convention on Human Rights.

Kilic, a human rights lawyer who is now the honorary chair of Amnesty in Turkey, was initially arrested on suspicion of using an encrypted phone messaging app linked to a group widely known in the country to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. was believed to be behind the attempt to demolish.

The group has been labeled as a terrorist organization by Ankara, led by Fethullah Gulen, a former imam living in the US since 1999. Gulen has always denied any involvement in the failed put.

Kilic was accused of belonging to the group due to his alleged use of the phone app, as well as other alleged links, such as newspaper subscriptions, his children’s schooling, and bank accounts linked to the Gulen movement.

The court observed that this “mere circumstantial evidence” does not give rise to a reasonable suspicion of having committed the offence.

He was later accused of having links with other terrorist organisations. However, the court said the charges pertained to “normal peaceful and legal acts of human rights defenders”, such as organizing a workshop for civil society groups, exchanging messages about protests and raising awareness on rights abuses. .

In July 2020, Kilic was sentenced to six years and three months in prison for being linked to a terrorist organization. He is currently free to await the decision of the appeal.

“Despite the fact that every single charge leveled against him during the trial was widely exposed as baseless, the Turkish court convicted Tanner Kilic, who is still to serve the rest of his politically motivated sentence. is facing return to prison,” Nils Muizniaks said. , Europe director of Amnesty.

Calling for the conviction to be quashed, Muizniques described the case as part of a broader crackdown on rights and freedoms.

The European Court of Human Rights has previously ruled against the detention of two high-profile detainees in Turkey – Selahtin Demirtas and Osman Kavala.

Demirtas, a former head of the People’s Democratic Party or HDP, has been in prison since 2016 on a variety of charges, while philanthropist Kavala was sentenced to life without parole in April for links to protests in 2013.

Nation World News Desk
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