It has been 10 days since Turkish lawyer Taner Kiliç, President of Amnesty International Turkey, and well-known human rights defender, is detained. Arrested on June 6th along 22 other lawyers in Izmir he has been accused to be a supporter of Fethullah Gülen, whom the Turkish authorities blame as the instigator for the failed coup last summer.
Accusations against Mr Kiliç are vague and not based on evidence, as has repeatedly been highlighted recently by international institutions, human rights organizations and networks. «He stood at the basis of various human rights organisations, as well as our Greek-Turkish network on refugee and migrant rights across borders. He is a leading figure in refugee rights advocacy and contributes significantly to the establishment of a human rights based civil asylum system in Turkey. At the same time, he has been training and educating lawyers in the field of refugee rights across Turkey. The rule of law has always been the leading principle in his work», underlines the Greek-Turkish network of activists Kayiki in a press release.
Members of RSA have frequently cooperated with him on issues of protection of refugees and migrants rights. Mr Kiliç was one of the founders of the human rights organizations Mülteci-Der. He was also recently the lawyer of the Italian journalist Gabriele Del Grande during his detention in Turkey last April, and has also defended and assisted/represented many refugees and migrants detained in Turkey who were facing deportation. His arrest and custody signifies the further curtailment of freedom of expression in Turkey and it is a means to intimidate of human rights supporters in Turkey.
Following his arrest, Amnesty International started a petition asking for its release. On Thursday, June 15, at 7 pm, a protest in support of Taner will take place outside the Turkish embassy in Athens.
RSA requires the immediate release of Taner Kiliç and the cessation of his criminal prosecution.