Amnesty International Turkey chief detained again immediately after being released

2 January 2018
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Taner Kılıç, the head of Amnesty International Turkey and the only imprisoned defendant in a trial of 11 human rights activists, was detained by police minutes after he was released from İzmir Aliağa Şakran Prison, after a court accepted an objection filed against a court decision for his release on judiciary control terms, according to reports in the Turkish press. 

On 31 January, Kılıç testified via a video-conference from the prison in İzmir to a session at the Istanbul 35th High Criminal Court, hearing the trial of 11 human rights activists who are accused of terror propaganda for organizing a digital security meeting in June 2017 on Büyükada Island off Istanbul. The panel of judges ruled for his release under judicial probation measures, which means that he would have to go check in regularly with his local police department. 

However, the Istanbul Prosecutor's Office filed an objection to the 36th High Criminal Court, which is the next higher court after the court which made the initial ruling. The court upheld the objection on the grounds that Taner might "continue his links with the organization," according to a report from BBC Turkish. However, a statement from Amnesty International Turkey, which confirmed that Kılıç was detained again, said the organization wasn't sure if the prosecutor's objection had been accepted by the higher court. 

Kılıç was detained again by gendarmarie officers  immediately after leaving prison. 

Refusals by courts to release imprisoned people are increasingly common in Turkey. In March 2017, 21 journalists were not released in spite of a court ruling to do so in a trial related to the 15 July coup attempt. Most recently on January 11, the Constitutional Court ruled for the release of journalists Mehmet Altan and Şahin Alpay, however, local courts haven't obeyed the decision and the Turkish Government has backed them. 

Background

Taner Kılıç was detained on 6 June and placed under arrested by court order on 22 June along with 22 other lawyers accused of links to the Fethullah Gülen network, an Islamist group which Turkey alleges was behind the coup attempt of 15 July.

His case was later merged with that of ten human rights activist who were detained during a digital security conference on Büyükada. Eight of them were later arrested and remained in prison for more than three months. They were accused of "aiding a terror organization" and "membership in a terror organization"

The eight were released in the first hearing. On 31 January, the court held the third hearing, which resulted in the interim ruling to release Kılıç.