On 5 July 2017 the Istanbul10 were detained. They were released on 25 October 2017, while their court case is continuing until today. Here you'll find a timeline of important events.
The workshop on information management, stress and trauma begins in Ascot Hotel on Büyükada island close to the coast of Istanbul.
In the morning Nalan Erkem, Seyhmuz Ozbekli, Ozlem Dalkiran, Idil Eser, Veli Acu, Gunal Kursun, Ilknur Ustun und Nejat Tastan, as well as the trainers Ali Gharavi and Peter Steudtner are detained during the workshop.
In the afternoon, the Istanbul10 finally obtain access to their lawyers and German and Swedish Consular officials. On the same day, it is made known that all those detained would remain so for seven further days.
The detention is extended by seven further days. Under the ongoing Emergency Laws in Turkey, this is the longest time that those detained without charge can be held. While even the lawyers for the human rights defenders have no access to the documents detailing the reasons for their detention, accusations of terrorism and espionage circulated in the media.
After all ten human rights defenders are interviewed by the public prosecutor at the court, on early morning the request for pre-trial detention by the public prosecutor is granted, with regards to six of the human rights defenders, among them Peter Steudtner, Ali Gharavi und Idil Eser, Four others are released for the time being, upon bail and under some conditions. Peter Steudtner and Ali Gharavi are being transferred to Maltepe and join a cell there.
Upon request of the public prosecutor, again arrest warrants are issued against Nalan Erkem, İlknur Üstün, Nejat Taştan and Şeyhmuz Özbekli, who had been conditionally released on 17. July 2017.
Nalan Erkem is arrested in her house and put in police custody at Vatan Security Directorate. After the decision of the court, she is transferred to Bakırköy women’s prison.
İlknur Üstün is arrested at home in Ankara and after decision of court transferred to Sincan prison, Ankara.
Nejat Taştan reports to the public prosecutor; his conditional release is confirmed by the court on 25. July. Employees of the Swedish and German consulates are able to visit Ali Gharavi and Peter Steudtner in Maltepe.
Şeyhmuz Özbekli reports to the court of Diyarbakır and is released conditionally. Both, Nejat and Şeyhmuz, have to report to the police twice per week and are not allowed to travel.
The objection against the pre-trial detention of Ali Gharavi and Peter Steudtner is rejected. Their lawyers only get to know about it two days later.
Ali Gharavi and Peter Steudtner are transferred from Maltepe, where they shared a cell, to the high security prison of Silivri, and are in solitary cells there.
Ali Gharavi and Peter Steudtner are transferred from solitary cells into cells with another person, though not with each other. Veli Acu and Günal Kursun remain in solitary detention for over a month.
Visit of the Swedish and German General Consulates in Silivri to Ali Gharavi / Peter Steudtner.
The lawyers file a ”habeas corpus petition“, which however is declined a few days later.
The lawyers are filing another ”habeas corpus petition“, which is also declined a few days later.
The indictment is published and leaked to the Turkish media, even before the lawyers officially receive it. It is directed against the “Istanbul10” as well as Taner Kilic, the chairman of amnesty international Turkey, who had been already arrested in June. They are accused of supporting or being members of various terrorist organisations.
Days before, the Turkish foreign minister had announced that he will push a quick start of the procedures.
Now it is already 100 days since the arrest. In many places, solidarity actions take place; also on 14th October which is Idil Eser’s birthday.
The court accepts the indictment and prepares for the trial. The date of 25 October is set for the first hearing.
For all eight prisoners, the limitation of one hour per week to meet their lawyers, is lifted.
The first day of trial. A delegation of international human rights organisations is present to observe. In the evening the prosecutor demands the end of pre-trial detention. Shortly before midnight the judge decides to release all from detention.
Ali Gharavi and Peter Steudtner leave Turkey.
The trial continued with the second hearing in Istanbul. Bail conditions for all of the Istanbul10 were lifted. But the trial will continue. The next hearing is scheduled for 31 January 2018.
The second date of the trial against the Istanbul 10 and Taner Kılıç ends with the decision of the judges to release Taner Kılıç. Unfortunately the state persecutor appeals against this decision in the same night and the court withdraws its own decision. So Taner Kılıç is released on February 1st from prison in Izmir under the eyes of his families and supporters and the same moment is taken into custody again by police. The next hearing is scheduled for June 21st, 2018.
Results from the fourth day of the trial in the court in Istanbul: Taner Kılıç stays in detention, although two police investigation reports were handed in, which confirm that Taner did not use the so-called Bylock-App at all, which was the main evidence against him. For the Istanbul10 two more witnesses were heard. They weakened their own earlier statements, which were part of the indictment. The next trial date was set for Noveber 11th 2018 for Taner Kılıç as well as for the Istanbul10.
During a routine review, demanded by the lawyers, the 35th Heavy Penal Court in Istanbul ordered the release of Taner Kılıç from prison detention in Izmir. He had spent more then 400 days in detention.
Taner Kılıç's case was - despite him being detained a month before the Istanbul10 and with different charges - merged unlawfully with the case of the Istanbul10. The next court date for him and the Istanbul10 is 7 November 2018.
After an extremely short trial date, the court decided, that they will have to wait for the reports of the investigation into the digital files confiscated from the #Istanbul10 and Taner Kılıç. The next court date will be 21 March 2019. Travel restrictions on Taner Kılıç were not lifted, but he is not any longer bound to attend the court hearings. So the third year of the #Istanbul10 starts. A long breath and more solidarity are necessary.
This was even faster than the last court hearing. After a few short statements by the defence, the court decides to postpone the hearing until July 16th, 2019. At the same time it requests the summing up of the State Prosecutor for this date.
The trial was adjourned to October 9th, 2019. As the prosecutor in charge was referred to another court shortly before the trial date, the prosecution was not able to present their final statement. This is now expected for October 9th. The court did not take any other decisions, although petitions from the lawyers were presented before. For example a petition to release and hand-over private had-written documents, which the police confiscated in July 2017 during the raid and which are kept secret until today.
Absurd, but the same procedure as the last trial day: The prosecutor asked for an adjournment of the trial, as he is new to the case and did not have sufficient time for preparation. The judge agrees and adjournes the tiral to November 27th, 9h30 Istanbul time.
Final statement of the prosecution: Half of the #Istanbul10 guilty
On the 10th hearing against the #Istanbul10 the state prosecution gave their final statement:
- Taner Kılıç: Guilty of membership in an armed terrorist organization
- Günal Kurşun, İdil Eser, Nejat Taştan, Özlem Dalkıran, Veli Acu: Guilty of supporting armed terrorist organizations
- Ali Gharavi, İlknur Üstün, Nalan Erkem, Şeyhmus Özbekli, Peter Steudtner: Not guilty
February 19th, 2020, was set as the next hearing. Besides the main defence the judgement of the court is expected.
The judicial and political struggle for an end to this unjust and unlawful enters a new round!
Everybody expected the verdicts for this day. But after nearly seven hours of defense statements of the #Istanbul10 present and of a part of our lawyers the court decided to finish "on time" and adjourned the hearing to April 3rd 2020. At least still this year.
The defense speaches by the #Istanbul10 present were powerful and impressive. Due to the adjournement I cancelled the press conference together with Amnesty International in Berlin and also the leftover media work became superfluous. Now it's again up to us to continue to spend the coming time until April 3rd in this state of suspense, which is extremely exhausting - especially for the #Istanbul10 in Turkey. Together with our lawyers - who are also annoyed by this delay and have to find new strength - we are now preparing for the coming hearing.
The first time, that the adjourning of the process date is understandable: Nearly all process trials of the Istanbul courts were adjourned. July 3rd was confirmed as the new date. Nearly exactly three years after the detention of the #Istanbul10.
4 x imprisonment, 7 x acquittal was the verdict of this day. After the defense speeches by Ali Gharavi, Peter Steudtner, Nejat Taştan and Nalan Erkem (partially through their lawyers the judges announced their verdict: Taner Kılıç was judged to six years and three month imprisonment, Idıl Eser, Günal Kurşun and Özlem Dalkiran each to two years and one month imprisonment. All other were acquitted.
This verdict contradicts all Human Rights foundations as well as the Turkish justice system. Concerning the evidence, all eleven Human Rights Defenders should have been acquitted.
Although their is some relief about the seven acquittals, the resistance against the four prison sentences will start immediately. Solidarity is needed now even more focused.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled on May 31st, 2022, in the case "Taner Kılıç vs. Turkey" in favour of Taner Kılıç: The Court did not find any evidence, which would have justified his detention in 2017. Turkey was ordered to pay $26,300 (€24,500) in damages and $10,735 (€10,000) in costs.
On October 17th, 2022, the Court of Cassation in Istanbul overruled the prior court rulings of July 3rd, 2020, against Günal Kurşun, Idil Eser and Özlem Dalkıran as unlawful due to lack of evidence. Additionally the ruling against Taner Kılıç was refused due to lack of investigation.
After the defence speeches of Taner Kılıç and Günal Kurşun during the hearing on March 8th, 2023, the Court adjourned the trial to June 6th, 2023. It is envisioned, that the prosecution will give its final statement and a court ruling is expected. The Court also announced, that it might follow the rulings of the Court of Cassation of October 17th, 2022.