By Lene Christensen, Amnesty International
April 5, 2018, marks a sad anniversary. The Honorary Chair of Amnesty Turkey, Taner Kılıç, has spent the last 300 days wrongfully behind bars. But our fight for his freedom continues.
Today, Amnesty activists around the world have taken to the streets, all conveying the same strong message:
No one should not be imprisoned for defending human rights. Our colleague, friend and human rights defender Taner Kılıç is innocent, but he’s been in jail for 300 days. That’s 300 days too many.
Guerrilla stunt in Belgium
In Brussels, activists drew tally marks on a big board in a guerrilla stunt outside the Turkish Embassy, while Amnesty in Portugal handed out chalk sticks in a public action. Their activities are part of showing that the whole Amnesty movement is counting the days until Taner Kılıç is free.
“For 300 days activists around the world have campaigned relentlessly for Taner’s release. Today, we are out in the streets showing Turkey that we continue to keep count,” said Fotis Filippou, Amnesty’s Campaigns Director for Europe.
Protests from Benin to South Korea
In Seoul, Amnesty had a silent protest outside the Turkish Embassy. Closely watched by the local police, activists took turns holding placards demanding the release of Taner. Amnesty in Benin protested wearing T-shirts with the same call.
“The importance of solidarity”
People all over the world have sent messages of solidarity to Taner and his family. In a letter written from his prison cell, Taner explains the importance of such support:
“Photographs taken from the actions organized under the hot sun, rain and the freezing cold have lifted my spirits and reminded me of the importance of international solidarity in the struggle for human rights.”
More than a million people have signed Amnesty’s global petition calling for Taner’s release. The hashtag #FreeTaner has been used tens of thousands of times in social media since he was wrongfully imprisoned in June last year.
The countdown continues
In addition to this week’s global action, countless protests have taken place all over the world, and they will continue. We’ll keep carving in every day of injustice until our colleague and friend Taner is free.
And trust us: We will not rest until people fighting for human rights in Turkey can do so without fear.