Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

11 Activists Charged in Turkey over Alleged Terror Links

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

11 Activists Charged in Turkey over Alleged Terror Links

Article excerpt

ISTANBUL * The Istanbul prosecutor's office is charging Amnesty International's Turkey chief and 10 others for allegedly belonging to and aiding terrorist groups , according to the country's official news agency.

The state-run Anadolu news agency said officials concluded an investigation into the 11 human rights activists, who are now awaiting trial.

Police detained 10 human rights activists during a workshop on digital security at a hotel near Istanbul in July. Eight people, including Amnesty International's director in Turkey Idil Eser, German Peter Steudtner and Swede Ali Gharavi, were arrested. Two others were detained but released pending trial.

They are accused of aiding armed terrorist organizations in alleged communications with suspects linked to Kurdish and left-wing militants as well as the movement led by U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is accused of orchestrating last year's coup attempt. Gulen has denied the accusations.

The indictment includes a "secret witness" who claimed the activists were engaged in illegal activities at the workshop, according to Anadolu.

The case of Amnesty International chairman Taner Kilic, a lawyer imprisoned in June after his arrest in the western province of Izmir, has also been added on to the indictment. He was accused of using an encrypted mobile messaging application, allegedly used by Gulen's network.

VISA SERVICES HALTED

The U.S. is suspending nonimmigrant visa services at its diplomatic facilities in Turkey after the arrest last week of a consulate employee, prompting Turkey to halt visa services in the U.S.

Turkish authorities arrested last week a U.S. Consulate employee of Turkish nationality, also for alleged links to Gulen. Metin Topuz is accused of espionage and "attempting to overthrow the Turkish government and constitution."

Anadolu reported that he allegedly communicated with former police chiefs in a 2013 corruption investigation, 121 people involved in the attempted coup and hundreds of people using an encrypted mobile messaging application. …

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