Co-rapporteurs hopeful after release of 8 human rights defenders, dismayed by continued detention of AI Chair

“While we welcome the release of 8 human rights activists, including the Director of Amnesty International (AI) Turkey, pending trial, we are dismayed by yesterday’s court decision to continue AI Turkey Chair Taner Kilic’s pre-trial detention, which, at the least, is disappointing, if not barely understandable”, declared Marianne Mikko (Estonia, SOC) and Nigel Evans (United Kingdom, EC), rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for the monitoring of Turkey.

“We are hopeful and reiterate our call to the judicial authorities for these terror charges to be dropped once and for all. We expect all authorities to fully comply with the letter and spirit of the European convention for human rights to which Turkey is party. A lively democracy implies a safe and secure environment for civil society organisations’ operations.

The decision to keep Taner Kilic in detention is unfortunately another chilling signal sent to human rights defenders and many others, who strive only to exercise their right to freedom of expression and assembly. We call on the authorities to take more meaningful steps towards better legislation and a safer environment, and to end the harassment of NGO activists and persons with opinions and positions that diverge from those of the authorities. The Council of Europe stands ready to assist”, the co-rapporteurs added.