Joint Statement: Full Freedom to Rights Defenders

The sixth hearing of the lawsuit, which indeed is a legal tragedy and known by the public as the “Büyükada Lawsuit, within the scope of which 11 rights defenders stand trial will be held on November 7, 2018 at 09:30 at Çağlayan Courthouse, Istanbul.


A lawsuit was lodged against a total of 10 rights defenders, eight of whom were from Turkey while two were from abroad, upon a complaint by a “confidential witness” with regards to a working group meeting that they attended in Büyükada, Istanbul on July 5, 2017. The rights defenders were detained and some were arrested after the completion of an indictment against them after 4 months. The case of lawyer Taner Kılıç, former Chair of Amnesty International Turkey, who had been detained on June 6, 2017 in Izmir and arrested later on, was included in this lawsuit as well.


The first hearing of the lawsuit was held on October 25, 2017 at the Istanbul 35th Heavy Penal Court and 8 of our colleagues who had been imprisoned for 4 months were released. In the ensuing hearings judicial control rulings about our colleagues were also repealed. Our friend Taner Kılıç was finally released on August 15, 2018 after a 14-month long detention.


We would like to once again state that we do not accept any of the impugned allegations against our rights defender friends who have been serving as the administrators and members of rights bodies well-known in Turkey and internationally. Not only these allegations fail to provide concrete grounds, but also the lawsuit in question has proven to be one of the recent signs of serious repression targeting the human rights movement in Turkey.


We demand that these proceedings be finalized with a ruling for the acquittal of all without delay, this injustice be immediately stopped and justice restored, and the continuance of works by the human rights movement in Turkey to be undertaken freely be ensured.


Equal Rights Watch Association

Rights Initiative Association

Human Rights Association

Human Rights Agenda Association

Women’s Coalition

Human Rights Foundation of Turkey

Amnesty International Turkey

Citizens Assembly