US deplores Turkey’s re-arrest of Amnesty International official
WASHINGTON – Reuters
The United States said on Feb. 7 it was “deeply troubled” by Turkey’s re-arrest of the chairman of the local arm of Amnesty International, and called on its NATO ally to end its state of emergency and safeguard the rule of law.
U.S.-Turkish relations have been strained recently by a series of disagreements, especially over the Syria crisis.
Taner Kılıç was one of 11 human rights activists arrested last year on what Amnesty International has said were “bogus terrorism charges.”
He is the only one of the 11 still jailed after eight months in detention, the rights group said.
Kılıç was conditionally released last week, but the prosecution successfully appealed the decision and he was re-arrested before he had even arrived home, Amnesty said in a statement.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told a briefing the United States was “deeply troubled” by Kılıç’s re-arrest on Feb. 1.
She said Washington was closely following Kılıç’s case, as well as those against other human rights defenders, journalists, civil society leaders and opposition politicians detained in the state of emergency that followed a failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on July 15, 2016.
“We call on the Turkish government to end the protracted state of emergency, to release those detained arbitrarily under the emergency authorities and to safeguard the rule of law,” Nauert said, noting that the emergency had “chilled freedom of expression” and raised concerns about judicial independence.