On Friday, July 3rd, a Turkish court convicted four human rights activists on terrorism-related charges (NYT). Taner Kilic, former chairman of Amnesty International Turkey, was sentenced to over six years in prison for charges of being a member of a terrorist organization (NYT). Three other human rights activists were convicted of assisting a terrorist organization, and each were sentenced to two years in jail (NYT). Seven other defendants, who were also on trial for similar offensives against the Turkish government, were acquitted on Friday (Reuters).
This is the latest case of Turkey’s government targeting political enemies after the failed coup attempt in 2016 (NYT). The recent crackdown has seen hundreds put on trial and has created deep political divisions within Turkey (NYT). This trial has heightened concerns about Turkey’s treatment of human rights activists, particularly among European countries (Al Jazeera). Amnesty International, a leading human rights watchdog, condemned the ruling as a “crushing blow for human rights and for justice” in Turkey (Al Jazeera).