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Turkey releases local Amnesty chair after 14 detention

Chairman of Amnesty International in Turkey, Taner Kılıç with his family [Amnesty]
Chairman of Amnesty International in Turkey, Taner Kılıç with his family [Amnesty]

Turkey released Taner Kilic, the chair of Amnesty International Turkey, yesterday after detaining him for over 14 months.

Kilic’s trial will resume on 7 November.

“I think the campaign for my release has helped to shine a light on all those people who have been the victims of politically motivated, unfair prosecutions in Turkey,” said Taner Kilic.

“I hope that justice will prevail and that everyone will be given a fair trial.”

Read: Turkey to probe actions which target its economy

Illegal download

According to Amnesty International, Kilic has been in prison since June last year in the coastal province of Izmir on terrorism charges. Prosecutors say he downloaded “ByLock”, a messaging application used by supporters of Fethullah Gulen, a US-based Muslim cleric blamed by Turkey for a failed military coup in 2016. Kilic denies the charges.

Two police reports and four independent forensic analyses investigations found no trace of the ByLock application on his phone, according to Amnesty International.

“Despite the fact that there was not a single reason for my imprisonment, I was jailed for more than 14 months. I was jailed despite the fact that I did not use ByLock. I hope it was not for nothing, that the awareness generated around the world will help others face fair trials in Turkey,” said Taner.

Nine other Amnesty International staff were arrested in Turkey, including Idil Eser, the director of Amnesty International Turkey. Eser was detained a month later for attending a human rights workshop, while others were held for almost four months before being released on bail in October.

Turkey admitted last December that thousands of people have been wrongly accused of downloading ByLock.

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