Istanbul prosecutor seeks up to 15 years in jail for rights activists
An Istanbul prosecutor has completed an indictment into 11 human rights activists who were detained in July during a meeting on Istanbul’s Büyükada Island, demanding up to 15 years in jail on terror charges for the suspects, Doğan News Agency reported on Oct. 8.
Eight of the suspects were previously arrested, including German citizen Peter Frank Steudtner, Swedish citizen Ali Ghravi and Amnesty International Turkey Director İdil Eser.
According to the indictment prepared by Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor Office’s Terror and Organized Crimes Bureau Prosecutor Can Tuncay, the meeting on Büyükada had been organized by Amnesty International’s Turkey chair Taner Kılıç, but the other suspects were only able to meet after Kılıç was detained in the western province of İzmir for allegedly using ByLock, an encrypted messaging application affiliated with the Gülen network.
It said the suspects attempted to turn the “justice march,” initiated by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu from Ankara to Istanbul in June into “chaos” and “aimed to spread turmoil to other provinces” across the country.
“It has been clearly understood the suspects aimed to turn a march dubbed ‘justice’ into acts including violence similar to Gezi Park incidents and incidents that would create chaos in the society,” the indictment read, referring to the nation-wide protests in 2013.
The prosecutor ultimately demanded jail terms from 7.5 years to 15 years for Kılıç on charges of “being a member of an armed terror organization” and “aiding an armed terror organization” for the other suspects.
Police raided the meeting on Büyükada on July 5 during which the activists were holding a “digital security and information management workshop” according to Amnesty.
An Istanbul court later ordered the arrest of the eight activists on accusations of “aiding a terror group,” while the other two were released on a judicial control order and banned from traveling abroad.
Earlier in June, Kılıç had been arrested on charges of having links to Fethullah Gülen’s network, widely believed to have been behind last year’s failed coup.
The seven other activists included in the indictment are İlknur Üstün from the Women’s Coalition, Günal Kurşun and Veli Acu from the Human Rights Agenda Association, Nalan Erkem and Özlem Dalkıran from the Citizen’s Assembly, Nejat Taştan from the Association for Monitoring Equal Rights and lawyer Şeyhmuz Özbekli.