Taner Kılıç Released in Büyükada Trial

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Third hearing of the trial in which 11 rights defenders have been tried due to a meeting on rights defenders’ security is being heard at İstanbul 35th Heavy Penal Court.

The court has ruled for Taner Kılıç to be released. Kılıç was the only defendant pending trial in custody.

The next hearing is on June 21.

Statement for the press in front of the courthouse

In the statement made for the press prior to the hearing, it was demanded that the only arrested defendant, President of the Amnesty International Turkey Taner Kılıç, be released.

A delegation from the Amnesty International are watching the hearing as well. The delegation consists of Amnesty Turkey Researcher Andrew Gardner, Director of Europe Gauri van Gulik, Peoples Under Threat Senior Campaigner May Carolan, United Kingdom Branch Director Kate Allen, Germany Branch Director Markus Beeko, France Branch Director Sylvie Brigot-Vilain, Norway Branch Director John Peder Egenæs and Spain Branch Director Esteban Beltran.

Hotel manager: They didn’t demand private or secret meeting place

Journalists and rights defenders who observe the hearing were allowed to enter the courtroom as of 11 a.m. Manager of the hotel where the meeting was held and raided by police was heard. The hotel manager said:

“Neither Ms. Özlem nor any participant requested a private or secret meeting place. They didn’t have a request that the hotel staff do not enter the meeting area during the meeting. The area of the meeting was a room we routinely allocate to other people as well. They were going swimming in the pool or eating like normal customers”.

Anonymous witness was absent

The secret witness who was expected to testify was not present in the hearing.

In the deposition received by instruction, the anonymous witness said that the meeting’s subject was data security and protection of personal data, and nothing else was discussed.

The anonymous witness stated that he or she was shown a map in the police station, yet, he or she didn’t see such a map in the meeting.

Prosecutor demanded the continuation of arrest of Kılıç

Taner Kılıç and his lawyers stated that an inspection hasn’t still been made into ByLock issue, they said that the trial is not fair as it is now.

Kılıç said, “I believe that the Amnesty, all human rights defenders institutions and [human rights] defenders have been tried to be intimidated through me. There is no other reasonable explanation for my case being combined with the Büyükada case”.

The prosecutor demanded the continuation of arrest of Kılıç.

Kılıç’s lawyers demanded that the cyber report be brought to the next hearing, and Kılıç be released since there is no suspicion of him running away.

Board of Judges

Chief Judge: Adem Aygün

Member judges: Ayhan Arduç, Gülşah Eğilmez Türüdi

What happened?

On July 5, 10 rights advocates from various rights organizations were taken into custody during a training workshop with the topic “Protection and digital security of human rights advocates” in Büyükada, one of the Prince Islands in İstanbul. Nothing was heard from detained rights defenders for 30 hours.

On July 18, Idil Eser (Amnesty International Turkey Director), Özlem Dalkıran (Citizens’ Assembly / formerly called Helsinki Citizens Association), Günal Kurşun (Human Rights Agenda Association), Veli Acu (Human Rights Agenda Association),  Ali Garawi (citizen of Sweden / human rights trainer), and Peter Steudtner (citizen of Germany / human rights trainer) were arrested on charges of “committing crimes on behalf of the terrorist organization without being a member” (Article 220/6 of Turkish Penal Code/TCK ) and “being a member of an armed terrorist organization” (Articles 314/2 and 314/3 of TCK).

On July 23, İlknur Üstün (Women’s Coalition) and Nalan Erkem (Citizens’ Assembly / formerly called Helsinki Citizens Association), who were released on probation earlier with an international travel ban, were arrested later upon the prosecutor’s objection to their release.

Amnesty International Turkey Executive Board Chair Taner Kılıç who had been in pre-trial detention since June 2017 in another case, was included to the indictment of Büyükada lawsuit later as a suspect.

According to the bill of indictment prepared by Public Prosecutor Can Tuncay, the rights defenders are claimed to be members of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization/Parallel State Organization (FETÖ/PDY), Kurdistan Workers’ Party/Kurdistan Communities Union (PKK/KCK) and The Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C).

On October 25, the court ruled that Günal Kurşun, İlknur Üstün, İdil Eser, Nalan Erkem, Peter Steudtner, Özlem Dalkıran, Ali Garawi and Veli Acu be released. In addition, an international travel ban was imposed on Özlem Dalkıran and Veli Acu, and the probation order for Şeyhmus Özbekli and Nejat Taştan that was issued on July 25, was revoked.

The file of Taner Kılıç, who was standing trial in a separate case held before İzmir 16 Assize Court on charge of “financing terrorism and spying” and was later included in the indictment of Büyükada lawsuit as a suspect, was combined with the main Büyükada Case.

(ÇT/TK)