Amnesty International Urges Ankara To Release Its Turkey Chief

Chief of Amnesty International (AI) Turkey Taner Kilic has been swept up in a new round of crackdown by the Turkish authorities against more than 22 lawyers representing various rights groups.

The news prompted a swift condemnation from London-based Amnesty International as it urged the Turkish authorities to release Mr. Kilic and other lawyers who were rounded up in Izmir over alleged links to Gulen movement. According to the Turkish media, Mr. Kilic was detained by police over the use of “ByLock,” an encrypted smartphone app cited by the government as a ground for arrests of thousands of people.

“The fact that Turkey’s post-coup purge has now dragged the Chair of Amnesty International Turkey into its web is further proof of just how far it has gone and just how arbitrary it has become,” Amnesty International’s Secretary General Salil Shetty said in a statement. “Taner Kilic has a long and distinguished record of defending exactly the kind of freedoms that the Turkish authorities are now intent on trampling,” he added, defending the prominent lawyer who served on the board of Amnesty International Turkey for various periods since 2002.

“In the absence of credible and admissible evidence of their involvement in internationally recognized crimes, we are calling on the Turkish authorities to immediately release Taner Kilic along with the other 22 lawyers, and drop all charges against them,” the statement said.

Mr. Kilic has been Chair since 2014. Amnesty International praised his impressive record of work for human rights groups in Turkey.

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