UPDATE 15/08/18: This action is now closed — today Taner was finally freed after more than fourteen months behind bars. Thank you to the nearly 20,000 people who took action for Taner. We will continue to monitor his case and call for all charged against him to be dropped.
Taner Kılıç was just doing his job, exposing human rights abuses in Turkey as Chair of Amnesty International in that country. But on 9 June 2017, he was thrown into prison on the absurd charge of being a member of an “armed terrorist organisation”.
One month later, İdil Eser, Head of Amnesty Turkey; Özlem Dalkıran, Founder of Amnesty Turkey, now with Avaaz and the Citizens’ Assembly; and eight others were detained while attending a routine workshop for human rights activists in Istanbul. All 10 are also facing membership charges – a preposterous accusation.
The detention of the Istanbul 10 and Taner’s imprisonment were the latest in a series of government efforts to silence its critics. Since the attempted coup of July 2016, over 150,000 people have been placed under criminal investigation.
Following a global outcry, the Istanbul 10 were released on bail. But Taner is still in prison and the Istanbul 10 are still at risk. These brave individuals have dedicated their lives to defending the rights of others. Criminalising them leaves everyone vulnerable to the government’s ongoing crackdown on freedoms.