3 July 2020, Çağlayan Courthouse, Istanbul

Three years ago, during a routine civil society workshop in Büyükada island, human rights defenders were detained by police. Human rights defenders who spent many years defending human rights were targeted with baseless allegations and a smear campaign on TV and newspapers. In the shadow of a climate of fear, they were imprisoned without any lawful justification.

The indictment contained a number of absurd allegations. These baseless allegations that were consistently refuted with evidence in the hearings over the past three years were repeated in the prosecutor’s final opinion at the hearing on 27 November 2019. The prosecution, which is responsible by law to ensure the fairness of trials a and the protection of defendants’ rights, have requested instead, convictions for some of the defendants on the basis of disproven allegations. Prosecutors’ obligation is not to have the defendants convicted regardless, but to help reveal the truth.

Today, at the final hearing of this prosecution which should have never been opened, the only fair judgment will be the acquittal of all 11 human rights defenders without exception.

By taking into consideration the explicit and unacceptable flaws in the prosecutor’s opinion, we expect the court to the acquit all human rights defenders on trial in this case.

Amnesty International Turkey, Association of Lawyers for Freedom, Association for Monitoring Equal Rights, Citizens’ Assembly Turkey, Civic Space Studies Association, Civil Rights Defenders, Human Rights Association, Human Rights Agenda Association, Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, Initiative for Freedom of Expression, Kaos GL, Media and Law Studies Association, SPoD LGBTI+, Punto24 Association for Independent Journalism, Research Institute on Turkey, The Rights Initiative Association, Truth Justice Memory Center, Turkish-German Forum of Culture, Women’s Coalition