An İstanbul court on Wednesday ruled to release eight human rights activists, including Amnesty International’s Turkey Director İdil Eser, who had been in pretrial detention since July 5 over alleged terror links.
According to the decision, German citizen Peter Frank Steudtner, Swedish citizen Ali Ghravi, Günal Kurşun, İdil Eser, Özlem Dalkıran, Nalan Erkem and Veli Acu were released pending trial. Four other suspects are also being tried as part of same case without pretrial detention.
“I think we’re all more than relieved. We feel really happy about what happened. To speak of me, I am really grateful and we are really grateful for everybody who supported us legally, diplomatically and for solidarity,” said Steudtner after they walked free on bail from Silivri Prison in Istanbul, Deutsche Welle reported.
On July 5 Turkish police, acting on an anonymous tip, raided a hotel on Büyükada, one of the Princes’ Islands off İstanbul, and detained İdil Eser from AI, İlknur Üstün from the Women’s Coalition, lawyer Günal Kurşun from the Human Rights Agenda Association, lawyer Nalan Erkem from the Citizens Assembly, Nejat Taştan from the Equal Rights Watch Association, Özlem Dalkıran from the Citizens’ Assembly, lawyer Şeyhmus Özbekli, Veli Acu from the Human Rights Agenda Association and two foreign trainers, Ali Garawi and Peter Steudtner.
During a press conference in Hamburg on July 8 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused the human rights defenders of plotting a follow-up to a July 15, 2016 coup attempt and signaled that the detention of the rights defenders could turn into imprisonment.