The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) once again condemned Turkey on Tuesday 31 May for violating human rights by arbitrarily imprisoning the president of the Turkish branch of Amnesty International.
Unanimously, the seven judges, including a Turkish judge, of the judicial institution of the Council of Europe, considered that Ankara did not have “plausible reasons” to remand Taner Kiliç in 2017 In doing so, Turkey violated Mr. Kiliç’s freedom of expression.
He was accused of belonging to the organization FETÖ (for Fethullahist Terror Organization – “Terrorist Organization of Fethullah”), a movement led by the preacher Fethullah Gülen, installed in the United States since 1999, and named so by the president Erdogan since the failed coup of 2016. FETÖ is accused by the Turkish power of being a terrorist organization and of having orchestrated the coup attempt of July 2016.
Fourteen months of detention and multiple extensions
The ECHR “concludes that there are no plausible reasons to suspect Mr. Kiliç of having committed an offence, both on the date of his detention on remand and after the extension thereof”, it explains in a statement.
The NGO leader’s pre-trial detention lasted more than fourteen months and was extended several times until an assize court ordered his release in August 2018.
Taner Kiliç was then sentenced, in the summer of 2020, to six years and three months in prison for “belonging to a terrorist organization”, recalls the court. Turkey must pay the applicant 8,500 euros for pecuniary damage and 16,000 euros for non-pecuniary damage.
Regularly condemned by the ECHR, Turkey is also the subject of a rare sanctions procedure initiated by the Council of Europe for having remained deaf to requests for the immediate release of patron Osman Kavala, recently sentenced to life imprisonment.