Accessibility links

Breaking News

Turkey Frees 8 Human Rights Activists, Pending Outcome of Terror Trial


Rights activists gather in front of the Justice Palace during the opening hearing of the trial of 11 human rights activists accused of terrorism charges, in Istanbul, Turkey, Oct. 25, 2017. Eight of the activists were later released.

Turkey has freed eight human rights activists, pending the outcome of their trials for alleged terrorism.

Those freed Wednesday included Amnesty International's Turkey director, Idil Eser, and German and Swiss citizens.

They were arrested in July while attending a digital security workshop on Buyukada Island. They have been behind bars ever since.

A total of 11 activists have been charged with terrorism for allegedly having contact with Kurdish and leftist militants, as well as suspected members of a movement led by exiled Muslim cleric Fetullah Gulen.

Turkey said Gulen and his backers were behind last year's failed coup, a charge Gulen denies.

Amnesty International said there was not “a shred of evidence” against the defendants. One of them, Ozlem Dalkiran, a member of the group Citizens' Assembly, told the judge during his court appearance, "I have no idea why we’re here.”

The United States has condemned the arrests and urged Turkey to drop the charges.

Turkey has long had its eyes on joining the European Union. But some in the EU have expressed concern that Turkey may be sliding closer to authoritarianism under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

XS
SM
MD
LG