Turkey: Baseless conviction of Amnesty’s Honorary Chair must be quashed, following long-awaited ECtHR ruling

The European Court of Human Rights ruled today that the 2017-2018 detention of Amnesty Turkey’s then-chair, Taner Kılıç was a violation of his rights to liberty and security (Article 5.1, 5.3 and 5.5) and freedom of expression (Article 10). Following the ruling, Amnesty International reiterated its call on the Turkish authorities to overturn the unjust and baseless conviction of Taner Kılıç, who faces another two-and-a-half years in prison if his conviction is upheld.

Taner Kılıç was arrested in June 2017 and detained for more than 14 months. In July 2020, he was sentenced to six years and three months. The verdict is currently pending at the Court of Cassation – Turkey’s highest court of appeal.

“This long-awaited European Court ruling confirms what we have known from the start: that Taner Kılıç – a life-long human rights defender was arbitrarily deprived of his liberty when jailed in a high security prison on trumped up charges,” said Amnesty International’s Europe Director, Nils Muižnieks.

“Despite the fact that the allegations levelled against him were comprehensively exposed as baseless during the trial, the court in Turkey convicted Taner Kılıç, who still faces a return to jail to serve out the rest of his politically motivated sentence. The European Court has this morning reaffirmed that the authorities in Turkey did not have ‘any reasonable suspicion that Taner had committed an offence’ to justify his pre-trial detention and no further evidence was ever presented to justify his conviction.”

Despite the lack of evidence, Taner Kılıç, a refugee rights lawyer and former and now honorary chair of Amnesty’s Turkey section, was convicted of ‘membership of a terrorist organisation’.

“Today’s ruling provides a clear and emphatic framework for Turkish authorities to ensure that Taner’s human rights are not further violated,” said Nils Muižnieks.

“This politically motivated attempt to silence a human rights defender is part of the Turkish authorities’ wider crackdown on rights and freedoms and those who defend them. Taner’s conviction must be quashed.”

For more information about the case

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/campaigns/2020/01/turkey-istanbul-human-rights-activists-justice/

For the ECtHR ruling

https://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng#{%22itemid%22:[%22003-7348547-10034706%22]}

For an analysis of the case against Taner Kılıç visit: https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/eur44/7331/2017/en/

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