Turkey convicts 4 human rights activists of terror charges
The court also convicted three other human rights activists – Gunal Kursun, Idil Eser and Ozlem Dalkiran – of charges of aiding a terror group, sentencing them to two years and one month each. Seven other activists, including German citizen Peter Steudtner and Swede Ali Gharavi, were acquitted of the charges.
Ten of the activists were detained in a police raid in July 2017 while attending a digital security training workshop on Buyukada island, off Istanbul. The 11th activist, Kilic, was detained separately a month earlier in the city of Izmir.
Ten defendants were charged with aiding terrorist organisations, including the network led by a U.S.-based cleric, which the Turkish government blames for the 2016 coup attempt and has designated as a terror group.
Kilic was accused of membership in cleric Fethullah Gulen's network. Gulen denies allegations that he engineered the coup attempt.
Turkey: a country in a state of emergency
Night of terror: the failed coup attempt turned Turkey into a war zone. More than 260 people died. Does the country face the threat of a civil war?
Bloodshed at the Bosphorus: a blood covered resident of Istanbul stands near the Bosphorus Bridge. There were clashes between civilians and the army after the military had blocked the bridge on Friday night. Government sources say that more than 260 people were killed in fighting during the coup attempt
Tanks roll through streets: tanks drove through several cities in the night in a completely surprise move. The Turkish military announced its takeover. The tracked vehicles flattened cars in the streets of Istanbul and Ankara, turning the country into a war zone
Lights out in parliament: after the bombing of parliament in Ankara, the building is in ruins. Fighter jets flew low over the capital and had the citizens panicking
Who owns the Republic Monument? The army not only closed the Bosphorus Bridge: it also occupied Taksim Square, a main transportation hub in Istanbul. The soldiers positioned themselves in front of the Republic Monument
Icon of resistance: Erdogan supporters also protested on the square. A showdown began when a soldier pointed his gun at a man. The army opened fire on the protesting crowd on the square
Shirts off their backs: after the failed coup attempt, rebel soldiers laid down their arms on the Bosphorus Bridge and fled
Put to flight: after the armed forces had surrendered, soldiers tried to get on a bus to flee from the angry masses
Cheering crowds: President Tayyip Erdogan returned to Istanbul on Saturday. Cheering crowds received him at the airport. Erdogan announced that the rebels would pay a heavy price
It's over! Erdogan supporters triumph and wave the Turkish flag after the army's withdrawal. The coup attempt has failed
Bizarre souvenir: a mother took a picture of her daughter on top of a tank. The tank on the Bosphorus Bridge was surrounded by Turkish police
Their trial heightened concerns about Turkey's treatment of human rights defenders and helped sour Turkey's relations with European nations, notably Germany.
Amnesty International condemned the ruling as a ''crushing blow for human rights and for justice'' in Turkey.
''Today, we have borne witness to a travesty of justice of spectacular proportions,'' said Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International's Turkey researcher who observed the hearing. ''The court's verdict defies logic and exposes this three-year trial as the politically motivated attempt to silence independent voices.''
The four convicted activists, who were released from jail pending the outcome, were expected to appeal the verdict. All 11 defendants maintained their innocence throughout the trial.
Gardner said: ''This case has been a litmus test for the Turkish justice system. As such, it is tragic to see the part it has played and continues to play in criminalising the act of standing up for human rights.'' (AP)