Turkish court orders release of local Amnesty chair, human rights group says

Reuters

A Turkish court has ordered the release from prison of Taner Kilic, the local honorary chair of Amnesty International, the human rights group said on Wednesday about one of several cases that have raised concern over Ankara’s human rights record.

Kilic, who has been in jail for a year as his trial continues, is charged with supporting a U.S.-based cleric whom Ankara blames for a July 2016 failed coup. Kilic was expected to be released from prison later on Wednesday.

“Great news: The Istanbul court has ruled for the release of Amnesty Turkey Honorary Chair Taner Kilic!!!! Expecting his release by this evening. Celebrations will start then,” Andrew Gardner of Amnesty said on Twitter.

The court decision came a day after a court in the western province of Edirne released two Greek soldiers facing espionage charges in Turkey. Athens said the ruling would help to improve strained ties between the two NATO allies.

Turkey is also involved in a dispute with the United States over the detention of an American Christian pastor for terrorism charges.

Earlier on Wednesday, a Turkish court rejected an appeal for Evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson to be released from house arrest and for his travel ban to be lifted, but an upper court is yet to rule on the appeal.