Head of Amnesty International in Turkey released
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Head of Amnesty International in Turkey released

Amnesty International [advocacy website] said Thursday that the Honorary Chair of Amnesty International Turkey, Taner Kilic, has been released [press release] after 14 months in prison.

Amnesty’s Secretary General Kumi Naidoo said that Kilic was released and has returned to his family. Naidoo also called for the release of other human rights advocates whom Naidoo alleges are being detained on baseless charges.

Kilic was previously released in February [local report], but Turkish police detained him again just hours later. Kilic was accused of being a part of the Gulen movement, a group led by Fethullah Gulen, an Imam currently residing in the US. Gulen is currently being sought by the Turkish government for his alleged involvement in the 2016 attempted coup. Because of Kilic’s alleged connection to Gulen, Turkish prosecutors brought charges against him under the nation’s anti-terrorism laws.

Last month, Turkish police stated [Guardian report] that there was no evidence to support the charges against Kilic. The report led to a Turkish court issuing a ruling for Kilic’s release.

In the past few months, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has cracked down [NPR report] on individuals suspected of having played a role in the attempted coup and perceived political opponents. The crack down, which has come to be known as “the purge” in Turkey has resulted in over 130,000 individuals in the military, police force, civil service, and academia being fired from their jobs. Tens of thousands of these individuals are facing charges.