July 5, 2017
We write on behalf of the Law Society of Upper Canada* and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (“LRWC”) ** to voice our grave concern over the arrest and detention of lawyer Taner Kiliç and 22 additional lawyers. When serious issues of apparent injustice to lawyers and the judiciary come to our attention, we speak out.
Taner Kiliç, lawyer and human rights defender, has served as the chair of Amnesty International Turkey since 2014 and has been on the board of the organization since 2002.
It has come to the attention of the Law Society and LRWC that on the morning of June 6, 2017, the Anti-Terror Branch of the Izmir police searched Taner Kiliç’s home and his office. The police then took Taner Kiliç into custody.
Since his arrest, Taner Kiliç has been charged with “membership of a terrorist organization.” Authorities claim that they discovered Bylock, a secure mobile messaging application, on Taner Kiliç’s phone in August 2014. Authorities say Bylock was used by members of what they have labelled the “Fethullahist Terrorist Organization” to communicate. No evidence has been presented to substantiate this claim. Moreover, Taner Kiliç states that he did not download or use Bylock and had not heard of it until it was mentioned during recent arrests and prosecutions.
According to Human Rights Watch, on June 9, 2017, Izmir Criminal Pace Judge No.3 ruled to remand Taner Kiliç in pre-trial detention.
Reports also indicate that 22 additional lawyers were detained in Izmir. According to Amnesty International, on June 9, 2017, eight lawyers were remanded in pre-trial detention, one was released on bail, seven were taken to the courthouse at the same time as Taner Kiliç and are awaiting decisions on their cases and six remain in police custody.