Court accepts indictment into 11 rights activists detained on Istanbul island

Court accepts indictment into 11 rights activists detained on Istanbul island


A court on Oct. 17 accepted an indictment into 11 human rights activists detained on an island off Istanbul in July, with the prosecutor demanding up to 15 years in jail for the suspects on terror charges.

Police raided a workshop attended by the activists on the island of Büyükada on July 5, detaining 11 people including the Turkey director of Amnesty International, İdil Eser.

An Istanbul court later ordered the arrest of eight activists on accusations of “aiding a terror group,” while two were released on a judicial control order and banned from traveling abroad.

Among those arrested are German citizen Peter Frank Steudtner, Swedish citizen Ali Ghravi, and Eser.

The Istanbul 25th high criminal court has accepted the 17-page indictment prepared by Can Tuncay, a prosecutor at the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor Office’s Terror and Organized Crimes Bureau. The first hearing in the case will be held on Oct. 25 at the Çağlayan courthouse.

The indictment includes a demand for between 7.5 years and 15 years in jail for another head of Amnesty International in Turkey, Taner Kılıç, on charges of “being a member of FETÖ,” referring to the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization.

Kılıç had been arrested on charges of having links to the network of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, widely believed to have been behind last year’s failed coup, earlier in June.

The indictment states that the “illegal” meeting on Büyükada had been organized by Kılıç and the other suspects met after he was detained in the western province of İzmir for allegedly using ByLock, an encrypted messaging application affiliated with the Gülen network.

It also claims that the suspects attempted to exploit the “justice march” from Ankara to Istanbul initiated in June by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, to create “chaos” and “spread turmoil across the country similar to the Gezi Park protests in 2013.”