First Published: 2017-11-22

Turkey court rules to keep Amnesty chief in jail
Kilic ordered to remain behind bars where he has spent almost six months following accusations of membership of Gulen organisation
Middle East Online

Kilic told the court that he has been held with 23 other people in an 8-person cell

ISTANBUL - An Istanbul court ruled on Wednesday that the head of Amnesty International in Turkey should remain in prison, in a controversial case against human rights activists, the British campaigning group said.

Amnesty's Turkey chair Taner Kilic was detained in June on accusations of membership of the organisation led by the alleged mastermind of last year's failed coup, US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Amnesty said in a statement that Kilic, who has spent almost six months under arrest, was ordered in the latest trial hearing to remain in detention despite statements from lawyers and a witness who "demolished the prosecution's arguments".

"The court's decision to ignore this evidence and continue his detention flies in the face of reason. It is yet another opportunity missed to correct a gross injustice," said John Dalhuisen, director of Amnesty International's Europe and Central Asia programme.

The next hearing has been set for January 31. Amnesty said Kilic told the court that he has been held with 23 other people in an 8-person cell.

His case was merged last month with those of 10 other rights activists including Amnesty's Turkey director Idil Eser, who were detained in July on contested terror charges after holding a workshop on an island off Istanbul.

Prosecutors accuse Kilic of having prior knowledge of preparations for the Istanbul workshop.

Eser, German activist Peter Steudtner, Swedish colleague Ali Gharavi and five others were freed last month for the duration of the trial where they are accused of "aiding" an armed terror group.

Two others had been released by the court previously, while Steudtner and Gharavi had already returned home. All remain charged and on trial.

The defendants are suspected of links to Gulen and other outlawed organisations including the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged an insurgency in Turkey since 1984, and the far-left Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C).

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in July said the activists had been taken into custody after a tip-off that they were working against the government, comparing them to those involved in the coup bid.

Ankara accuses Gulen of ordering last year's attempted overthrow of Erdogan but the preacher denies the charges.

 

Senior Saudi prince blasts Trump's "opportunistic" Jerusalem move

Kuwait ruler’s son named defence minister

Israel PM faces renewed pressure in Europe

Bahraini civil society group criticised after Israel visit

Saudi Arabia lifts decades-long ban on cinemas

EU says Syria war ‘ongoing’ despite Russia pullout

Istanbul nightclub gunman refuses to testify

Integrating Syrians in Turkey carries implications

US opinion views Muslims and Arabs more favourably but political affiliation makes a difference

Iranian conservative protesters say Trump hastening end of Israel

Jordan referred to UN for failing to arrest Sudanese president

Turkey demands life for journalists in coup bid trial

Netanyahu expects EU to follow suit on Jerusalem

Putin orders withdrawal of ‘significant’ amount of troops from Syria

Putin to meet with Sisi in Cairo

GCC at a critical juncture

Houthi rebels tighten grip on Sanaa after Saleh’s assassination

Israel’s Syrian air strikes risk renewing escalation as Iran expands presence in Golan

Qatar to acquire 24 Typhoon fighters from UK

Palestinian stabs Israeli guard in ‘terrorist’ attack

UAE’s Sheikh Mohammed says US Jerusalem decision could help terrorists

Fateh encourages more protests, refuses to meet Pence

Chinese electric carmaker to open Morocco factory

Iraqi victory over IS remains fragile

Morocco’s renewed ties with South Africa likely to consolidate support for Western Sahara stance

Lebanese security forces fire tear gas at protestors

Syria’s justice system: ‘working without a written law'

Egypt revives controversial desert capital project

Iran sentences fugitive ex-bank chief to jail

Iraq announces 'end of the war against Daesh'

Israeli air strike kills 2 in Gaza

UK foreign minister in Iran to push for Briton's release

Turkey's Erdogan seeks to lead Muslim response on Jerusalem

Iraqi Christians celebrate in town retaken from IS

Isolated US defiant at UN Security Council

Putin to visit Turkey for talks on Jerusalem, Syria

Protests sweep Muslim world over Jerusalem

US urges Saudi to show caution in regional disputes

Thousands march in Istanbul to protest US Jerusalem move

Bahrain Shiite leader undergoes surgery

Malaysians, Indonesians protest US move on Jerusalem

EU, Jordan voice backing for Palestinian state

Clashes in West Bank over US Jerusalem move

Macron appeals for calm over US Jerusalem embassy move

World leaders to 're-legitimise' Lebanon PM at Paris talks