Istanbul court rules to keep Amnesty official in jail

Istanbul court rules to keep Amnesty official in jail

ISTANBUL - Reuters
Istanbul court rules to keep Amnesty official in jail

A Turkish court ruled on June 21 to keep the local chair of Amnesty International in jail as his trial on terror charges continues, the group said, extending a year-long detention.

The court ruled that Taner Kılıç would be remanded in prison and his next hearing would be in November, Amnesty officials stated on Twitter. 

Kılıç has been jailed since June 2017 on charges of supporting the movement of the U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fetullah Gülen that Ankara blames for a July 2016 failed coup attempt. 

Prosecutors say Kılıç downloaded ByLock, a messaging app believed to be a communication means used by members of the Gülen movement, widely thought to be behind Turkey’s failed July 2016 coup attempt. 

Kılıç has denied the charges, according to Amnesty.

“Today’s heart-breaking decision to keep our colleague in jail is yet another travesty of justice,” Amnesty’s secretary general, Salil Shetty, said in a statement.

“Taner’s situation is emblematic of what is happening in Turkey today. Many of human rights defenders are either languishing in jail or living in constant fear of arrest,” the statement added.

A court in February ruled for Kılıç’s conditional release, but changed that decision later the same day following an appeal by a prosecutor.  

Kılıç is facing trial on terrorism charges as are 10 other human rights activists in a similar case. All deny the charges. The 10 others had been previously released, while Kılıç has remained in detention.