Turkish judges postpone verdict in Amnesty International case

A verdict was widely expected today for the Amnesty International Buyukada case, but judges decided to continue the trial on April 3, 2020, after the court was unable to hear all the final defense statements to conclude proceedings.

In a trial that opened Oct. 25, 2017, 11 defendants, including Amnesty International’s former Turkey chair Taner Kilic, face terrorism-related charges stemming from their work as human rights defenders. Today’s proceedings come one day after Turkish philanthropist Osman Kavala was acquitted and then re-arrested on charges of attempting to overthrow the government.

Both cases highlight the increased pressure faced by civil society members following a failed 2016 coup that sparked an ongoing state crackdown on critical voices and narrowed avenues for free speech in Turkey.

“These proceedings are designed to silence individuals and quash the small independent civil society that still exists in Turkey,” Milena Buyum, Turkey campaigner for Amnesty International, told Al-Monitor. “It is contributing to a climate of fear. It’s maintaining it and, of course, to a certain extent … it’s paralyzing.”

Read the full story on Al Monitor.