Turkey releases head of Amnesty International detained on 'terrorism charges'
A Turkish court has ordered the release of the jailed chairman of the local branch of rights group Amnesty International, though the trial will continue despite global outrage at Turkey’s ongoing imprisonment of human rights activists and journalists.
Amnesty's Turkey chair Taner Kilic was detained in June on accusations of membership of the organisation led by the alleged mastermind of last year's failed coup, US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.
Kilic and ten other human rights activists are on trial for “terrorism charges”.
"It is an enormous relief that Taner will soon be back with his wife and daughters, sleeping in his own bed for the first time in almost eight months. But we cannot forget that many other innocent people remain behind bars without a shred of evidence in Turkey," Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Europe Director said.
"These unfounded prosecutions are an attempt to silence critical voices within Turkey but have only served to highlight the importance of human rights and those who dedicate their lives to defending them," he added.
The 11 human rights activists, which include a German and Swedish national face 15 years in prison if they are found guilty.
This has caused a rift between Ankara and various European countries at a time in which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is attempting to fix relations between Turkey and the European Union and obtain an EU membership.