Turkish court convicts Amnesty official, three other activists on terror charges

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A Turkish court sentenced a former executive of Amnesty International Turkey to more than six years in jail and convicted three other rights activists on terrorism-related charges on Friday, the rights group said.

Amnesty Turkey said on Twitter that seven other defendants, who were detained three years ago during a crackdown following a 2016 attempted coup, were acquitted in a case which fueled concern over Ankara’s human rights record.

“This is an outrage. Absurd allegations. No evidence. After three year trial Taner Kilic convicted for membership of a terrorist organization,” Amnesty representative Andrew Gardner wrote on Twitter as the verdict emerged on the former honorary chairman of Amnesty Turkey.

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Three other rights activists were sentenced to two years and one month in jail. Peter Steudtner, a German national, and Ali Gharavi, a Swede, were among the seven acquitted.

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Ten of the defendants were detained while they participated in a workshop on digital security held on the island of Buyukada, off the coast of Istanbul, in July 2017.

The prosecution alleged that the gathering had been a secret meeting to organize an uprising and foment chaos. It alleged they had links to the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, accused by Ankara of engineering the 2016 coup attempt against President Tayyip Erdogan.

Since the coup attempt, authorities have carried out a sustained crackdown, jailing about 80,000 people and dismissing 150,000 civil servants, military personnel and others and closing some 180 media organizations.

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