Turkey convicts human rights activists on terror charges

The honorary chair of Amnesty International Turkey, Taner Kilic, was sentenced to six years in addition to three months in jail for being a member of terror organization, while the group’s former director İdil Eser was sentenced to two years in addition to one month for aiding a terror organization.

Amnesty members Günal Kursun in addition to Özlem Dalgiran were also given two years in addition to one month sentences for aiding a terror group.

The human rights group denies all the charges in addition to said of which every allegation against its members has been “comprehensively exposed as a baseless slur.”

Another seven defendants were acquitted. The 11 human rights activists were arrested in addition to charged from the summer of 2017 on terrorism charges.

The defendants possess the right to appeal to the Court of Appeal, which Amnesty Turkey tweeted of which they will use. “As we said before the trial, we will not accept even one of our friends to be sentenced. We will continue to follow the case through higher courts,” the idea said.

The four activists will not be imprisoned pending their appeals. The appeal process could take months or years.

Andrew Gardner of Amnesty International said in a statement: “Today, we have borne witness to a travesty of justice of spectacular proportions. This kind of verdict can be a crushing blow not only for Taner, Özlem, İdil in addition to Günal in addition to their families however for everyone who believes in justice, in addition to human rights activism in Turkey in addition to beyond.”
Amnesty International Turkey's former director Idil Eser, pictured in 2017, was sentenced to jail for aiding a terror organization.

“The decision of the court can be staggering. During 12 court hearings, each in addition to every allegation has been comprehensively exposed as a baseless slur. The court’s verdict defies logic in addition to exposes This kind of three-year trial as the politically motivated attempt to silence independent voices the idea was by day one,” Gardner added.

The most high-profile member of the group, Kilic, was accused by the prosecutor of being a member of the cleric Fethullah Gulen’s network, which Turkey’s government deems a terrorist organization.

Kilic denies being a member of the organization, headed by the US-based preacher Gulen, who Turkey blames for masterminding the 2016 coup attempt during which around 250 people died.

Kilic was also accused of downloading a messaging app called ByLock used by the organization, which he denies.

The some other 10 defendants, including Amnesty International Turkey’s former director Eser, were arrested separately at a hotel on the island of Büyükada, off the coast of Istanbul, where they were attending a digital security workshop.

They were accused of taking part in a secret meeting, directed by Kilic, in a case locally dubbed the “Büyükada trial,” according to Amnesty International.

According to Human Rights Watch, “terrorism charges continued to be widely used” since the failed coup attempt in addition to many terrorism trials in Turkey “lack compelling evidence of criminal activity.”

The practice of holding individuals charged with terrorism offenses in prolonged pre-trial detention “raised concerns its use has become a form of summary punishment,” the idea said.

Anti-goverment protesters unfurl the Turkish national flag in Gezi Park in June 2013.
the idea can be Turkey’s second recent court case involving prominent rights activists, turning a spotlight on the country’s continuing detention of campaigners more than three years after 2016’s attempted coup.

The verdict comes just months after the prominent philanthropist, Osman Kavala, was given a brief taste of freedom when he was acquitted over 2013 protests in Istanbul’s Gezi Park — in addition to then hours later re-arrested for alleged links to the coup.

Kavala was one of several activists acquitted over their involvement from the Gezi Park protests seven years ago, which began over a plan to turn a modest park in central Istanbul into a shopping mall. The demonstrations quickly morphed into larger anti-government rallies across Turkey.

however the celebrations for the acquitted activists were short lived, after prosecutors announced Kavala would likely remain in detention.

Milena Buyum, Amnesty International’s Turkey campaigner, said in a statement of which the decision smacked of “deliberate in addition to calculated cruelty.”

Isil Sariyuce reported by Istanbul. CNN’s Sheena McKenzie in addition to Emma Reynolds wrote by London. CNN’s Jomana Karadsheh in addition to Yusuf Gezer contributed to This kind of report

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