Berfin Azdal, İstanbul – Five human rights advocates faced charges of “committing a crime on behalf of a terrorist organization whilst not being a member” and “membership in a terrorist organization” at İstanbul 35th High Criminal Court today. The court chose to continue to prohibit Taner Kılıç, the Honorary Chair of Amnesty Turkey, from leaving the country.
Along with Kılıç, Günal Kurşun and Veli Acu from Rights Agenda, Nejat Taştan from the Association for Monitoring Equal Rights and İlknur Üstün from Women’s Coalition have all been charged. All were present with their lawyers.
Murat Dinçer, a lawyer for the defense, argued that the trial itself is defamatory to the defendants and raised concerns about perceived idleness on the part of the panel of judges in processing the case file’s documents and reports.
“The investigation started with an anonymous witness throwing a stone down a well,” argued Oya Aydın, lawyer for the defense. “There is nothing to be investigated. The proceeding has become a calamity for the defendants.”
The court chose to review two decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (the ‘Turkey Işıkırık’ and ‘İmret Turkey’ decisions) from recent years. It also chose to exempt Kılıç from having to attend further hearings, but refused to allow him to leave the country. The hearing was adjourned until March 21 2019.
Updated: November 27 2018