Marianne Mikko (Estonia, SOC) and Nigel Evans (United Kingdom, EC), co-rapporteurs for the monitoring of Turkey, and Egidijus Vareikis (Lithuania, EPP/CD), rapporteur on protecting human rights defenders in Council of Europe member States, issued the following joint statement today:
“Taner Kılıç, Chair of Amnesty International Turkey, is to be sent back to pre-trial detention, where he has been held continuously since his arrest in June 2017. The Istanbul Court which two days ago ordered his release yesterday overturned its own decision following an appeal by the prosecutor. These developments add to our concerns about judicial independence and the excessive use of pre-trial detention. It is also a clear and chilling signal sent to civil society activists who will feel it as yet another blow to their activities.
We will continue to follow these worrying developments, which impact the whole of Turkish society. We expect the swift release of Taner Kılıç and urge the Turkish authorities to drop all charges against him and his colleagues, who are facing terrorist-related charges after carrying out human rights activities. We reiterate our strong call to the Turkish authorities to comply with their Council of Europe obligations – in particular to ensure a fair trial and restore and protect freedom of expression, association and assembly, which are the cornerstones of any true, vibrant democracy.”