Taner Kilic: Amnesty Turkish chair to be released from prison

Turkey has decided to release the national head of Amnesty International after more than a year in prison.

Taner Kilic was arrested in June 2017 on terrorism charges. He is expected to be freed in the coming hours.

He was accused of links to US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, leader of a banned group which Turkey blames for a failed coup attempt in 2016.

Amnesty has said the charges are an attempt to silence critics of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

While Mr Kilic will be released from prison, the charges against him and other leading human rights activists have not been dropped, Amnesty said.

The human rights group said it was “overjoyed” at the news of Taner Kilic’s release – but sounded a word of caution, after a court had previously ordered his release in January only to change its mind a day later.

“Whilst we rejoice at this decision, our celebrations will only truly begin when he is safely back at home in the arms of his wife and daughters,” said Kumi Naidoo, the organisation’s secretary general.

He said that the group retained its “steely determination” to continue campaigning “for the release of all those human rights defenders, journalists and others who have been unjustly jailed in the vicious crackdown”.

Mr Erdogan has consolidated his political power, first through the use of emergency powers and recently in an election victory which granted him new executive powers as leader.

In the wake of the attempted coup in 2016, Mr…

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