On Wednesday, December 5, President Trump received a letter signed by over 40 members of Congress, urging him to “publicly call on the Government of Turkey to halt the prosecution of [the Istanbul 10], drop all charges against them, and immediately and unconditionally release those still in detention, including Mr. Kılıç.”
Taner Kılıç, the Chair of Turkey section of Amnesty International, has been in pretrial detention for 162 days, charged with “membership of the Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization” (FETÖ). No credible evidence has been presented to substantiate the claim that Kılıç is a member of so-called FETÖ or any other terrorist organization. On November 22, the Istanbul Court ruled against the release of Kılıç. The next court hearing for Kılıç and the Istanbul 10 is January 31, 2018.
Naureen Shah, senior director of campaigns at Amnesty International USA, stated that Amnesty welcomes “Congressional support for Taner and the Istanbul 10, especially in light of the court’s decision to keep Taner behind bars.” Shah went on to note that “the world is watching as Turkish authorities continue to unfairly prosecute activists, journalists, and lawyers as part of a massive crackdown on civil society. Amnesty continues to call on Turkish authorities to immediately release Taner Kılıç and drop the absurd charges against him and the Istanbul 10.”