Group Newsletter July 2020

Welcome to the latest newsletter.
The next meeting  is on Thursday 16th July 2020, 8.00pm, – on ZOOM.  Our initial Zoom meetings have been quite successful, so we will persevere with this platform whilst other options remain closed. A reminder it’s more of a discussion than a “meeting”, so do join us if you can. There will be campaign updates and a discussion on future plans as the lockdown lessens.
Please reply to this newsletter if you would like the Zoom invite.

Taner Kılıç

Taner Kılıç is one of the founding members of the Turkish section of Amnesty International and its president since 2014. Along with 22 others he was arrested in June 2017 and charged with belonging to a “terrorist organisation”. We featured him in this newsletter in February 2018. At the time he had just been released from prison, but he and 9 others were immediately re-arrested and taken back into custody.

We have just heard that Taner has been convicted of being a member of a terrorist organisation and sentenced to 6 years and 3 months in jail.   Idil Esler the former Director of Amnesty Turkey and two  other members of the “Istanbul 10” were also given prison sentences for assisting. This the reaction from AIUK Director Kate Allen:-
“This is an outrageous miscarriage of justice and it is heartbreaking to think of the impact on our colleagues and their families.  It is also frightening to think of the signal that it sends to human rights defenders in Turkey.  If even members of Amnesty International, with all of our strength as a global movement, aren’t safe, then who is?”
We will keep you updated of any actions relating to this case. More information here:-

South America Newsletter

The July edition of the South America Regional Newsletter is now on the blog. Our group has focused on South America since its inception. The 2 volunteers who run the network for AIUK – and produce the newsletter – do a huge amount of work on our behalf.
It has some positive news about movement to stop harassment of an indigenous community in Columbia, but some stark statistics about the deaths of human rights defenders in the same country.


Central & Eastern Europe Newsletter

We have started posting this newsletter on the blog as well. Complied by Ulrike Schmidt, who spoke to the group last September. She tends to send her newsletter out mid month; the June edition is on the blog.
This edition has issues and updates throughout the region, but in particular on Hungary, Croatia and Poland (see action below)

Poland: Drop Charges Against  LGBTI+ Activist Elżbieta Podleśna

Elżbieta Podleśna has been charged and could face two years in prison after being accused of owning a poster of the Virgin Mary with a rainbow halo. Elżbieta is one of many activists who are being attacked for taking a stand against discrimination in Poland.  After almost a year under investigation, Elżbieta has been charged with ‘offending religious beliefs’ and could face two years in prison.
Email Poland’s Prosecutor General and demand this ludicrous investigation to be stopped immediately.