Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (16 August) on the decision reached by a court in Istanbul to release Taner Kılıç, Honorary Chair of Amnesty International’s Turkey section, from custody:
I was very pleased to hear yesterday’s news about Taner Kılıç’s release. However, the fact that he was made to spend 14 months of his life behind bars in a controversial trial leaves a bitter after taste.
I hope that this encouraging decision will not be an isolated case. It is clear to all that countless journalists, human rights activists and critical thinkers are still in Turkish prisons on political charges. A number of German nationals have also been imprisoned in Turkey for this reason. I call on the judiciary to grant all those concerned the constitutional treatment to which they are entitled in accordance with international law. A strong Turkey needs an equally strong civil society.
The former Chair of Amnesty International’s Turkey section was arrested in Izmir on 6 June 2017. The Public Prosecutor’s Office accused him of “membership of a terrorist organisation”. The competent court had ordered his release from custody on 31 January 2018, a decision that was reversed a day later. On 15 August 2018, a court in Istanbul again decided to release Mr Kılıç. He has since been able to leave prison. Law enforcement authorities have yet to provide any evidence to substantiate the crimes of which he was accused.