nsnbc : The human rights activists detained over a training workshop on July 5, 2017 in Büyükada, nine of whom are in detention on remand, have stood before the judge for the first time after 113 days in Çağlayan Courthouse on October 25. Hearing the defendants Dalkıran, Steudtner, Üstün, Eser, Garawi, Kurşun, Erkem, Acu’s statements of defence, the court has ruled that all eight defendants in pre-trial detention be released pending trial.

The prosecutor of the trial Selahattin Kanbur had demanded in the hearing that seven of the nine defendants in pre-trial detention, namely Günal Kurşun, İlknur Üstün, İdil Eser, Nalan Erkem, Peter Steudtner, Özlem Dalkıran and Ali Garawi be released and Veli Acu remain in jail pending trial.

The prosecutor also demanded that the lawsuit brought against Amnesty International Turkey Chair Taner Kılıç before İzmir 16th Assize Court, charging Kılıç with “financing terrorism and spying”, be combined with Büyükada lawsuit.

Kılıç, who was added to the indictment of Büyükada lawsuit later as a suspect” is being charged with “Being a member of an armed terrorist organization” and the other rights are being charged with “committing crimes on behalf of the terrorist organization without being a member” (Article 220/6 of Turkish Penal Code) and “being a member of an armed terrorist organization” (Articles 314/2 and 314/3 of Turkish Penal Code).

The indictment claims that the rights defenders are members of Fethullahist Terrorist Organization/Parallel State Organization (FETÖ/PDY), Kurdistan Workers’ Party/Kurdistan Communities Union (PKK/KCK) and The Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C).

IT specialist Peter Steudtner from Germany has left for Germany. Stating that he is pleased with the release decision, German Minister of Foreign Affairs Sigmar Gabriel said, “This is an encouraging signal, a first step”. Noting that “there are other citizens of Germany kept in prison on unintelligible reasons”, Gabriel stated that they will determinedly continue their efforts the release of those citizens kept in prison. “We are grateful to those who have been supporting us.”

In his statement, Steudtner said, “We all are very relieved now. We are grateful to those who have legally and diplomatically supported and acted in solidarity with us”. On his Twitter account, spokesperson for the government Steffen Seibert said, “Finally! Peter Steudtner and other human rights defenders are being released. We are happy for them and our thoughts are with those who are still in prison”.

F/AK – nsnbc 26.10.2017



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