Amnesty International launches int’l campaign for release of AI Turkey chairman

Human rights organization Amnesty International (AI) has launched a campaign for urgent action against the recent imprisonment of Taner Kılıç, a lawyer and the chairman of AI Turkey’s board.

AI kicked off the campaign on Twitter on June 14 to support Kılıç, calling for his release, with the hashtag #FreeTanerKılıç. Since then, members of the organization have been sending messages of solidarity by taking photos with #FreeTanerKılıc signs and posting them on social media.

Kılıç is a founding member of AI Turkey and has been chairman of its board of directors since 2014. He has also played a strong role in advocating for refugee rights as a lawyer and with domestic non-governmental groups and others working on these issues.

He is accused of using the ByLock smartphone application. ByLock is considered by Turkish authorities to be the top communication tool among followers of the Gülen movement, which is accused by the government of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

A controversial military coup attempt on July 15 killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

At least 161,751 people were detained or investigated and 50,334 people were arrested in Turkey in the framework of the Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement since the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, according to statistics reported by state-run Anadolu news agency by basing on information taken from the officials from Turkey’s Justice Minsitry on June 13. (SCF with turkeypurge.com) June 17, 2017

 

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