THE trial of 11 human rights activists on charges of aiding terrorism began in Turkish city Istanbul yesterday.
Ten of the activists, including Amnesty’s Turkey director Idil Eser, German national Peter Steudtner and Swede Ali Gharavi, were arrested while attending a digital security training workshop in July.
They are accused of plotting an uprising and charged with aiding Kurdish and left-wing militants as well as US-harboured preacher Fethullah Gulen’s global movement, blamed for last year’s failed military coup. They face up to 15 years in prison if found guilty.
Amnesty members protested outside the Turkish embassy in London as the trial began.
Amnesty’s Europe director John Dalhuisen’s prediction that “it should not take the judge more than half an hour to dismiss the case against them” proved ill-founded.
Amnesty Turkey chairman Taner Kilic, who was imprisoned in June, is appearing before a different court for alleged links Mr Gulen. He is accused of using an encrypted mobile messaging application allegedly employed by his network.