The Chair of Amnesty International Turkey and longstanding human rights defender, Taner Kılıç, has become the latest victim of the Turkish government’s sweeping purge of those they suspect to be part of the Fethullah Gülen movement. He was taken from his home last week, and with 22 other lawyers, taken into police custody.
Taner was then brought before a prosecutor and charged with being a member of the “Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization” which the authorities blame for last year’s attempted coup. Taner vehemently denies being part of this organization and, in fact, has been critical of its role in Turkey.
Now, he is being held in detention pending trial. His detention is further proof of just how widespread and arbitrary Turkey’s post-coup crackdown has become.
The prosecutor claims that ByLock, a secure mobile messaging application, that the authorities say was used by members of the “Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization” had been discovered on Taner’s phone. So far, this is the sole piece of information provided to substantiate the charge. Taner denies that he downloaded or used ByLock, or being a member of the organization.
This set back to human right defenders takes place in the context of an escalating crackdown on human rights by the Turkish authorities. Tens of thousands of public sector employees have been dismissed and hundreds of journalists and media workers detained. Hundreds of media outlets and NGOs have been shut down.
Taner is a respected human rights activist and has worked with Amnesty Turkey for 15 years. We ask you to show your support today as we work tirelessly for his release.
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