23 artists including Ben Stiller, Mark Ruffalo, Whoopi Goldberg, Zoë Kravitz and Zach Galifianakis have shown support for the rights advocates detained during a training workshop on July 5 in Büyükada, who were later arrested and have been behind bars for 101 days.
The artists showed their support by signing a letter written by Amnesty International US Bureau in support of the rights advocates and addressed to Serdar Kılıç, Turkey's Ambassador to the US.
The artists who have signed the support letter are:
Zoë Kravitz, Nazanin Boniadi, Don Cheadle, Marisa Tomei, Adam McKay, Paul Haggis, Joshua Malina, Fisher Stevens, Claire Danes, Ben Stiller, Whoopi Goldberg, Mike Farrell, Eva Orner, Peter Sarsgaard, Tim Roth, Kathy Najimy, Mark Ruffalo, Zach Galifianakis, Bruce Cohen, Shira Piven, Mike White, Tim Kring and James McAvoy.
Previous call for support by artists
Earlier, artists like Peter Gabriel, Juliette Binoche, Jane Birkin, Angélique Kidjo, Annie Lennox and Bono had signed a support letter issued on the French newspaper Libération and called for the release of the rights defenders.
On July 5, 10 rights advocates from various rights organizations were taken into custody during a training workshop with the topic "Protection and digital security of human rights advocates" in Büyükada, one of the Prince Islands in İstanbul. Nothing was heard from detained rights defenders for 30 hours.
It was later revealed that the detention warrant had only been issued five hours after the advocates had already been taken into custody.
On July 11, an additional seven days of detention were issued for the rights advocates.
On July 17, the rights advocates were sent to court for arrest on charges of "committing crimes on behalf of an illegal organization as non-members", and "being a member of an illegal organization".
On July 21, the prosecutor objected to the release of the four rights advocates and a detention warrant was issued for them. Detained while at their homes, Üstün and Erkem were arrested on July 23.
On July 25, Taştan and Özbekli were released on probation with travel bans. Özlem Dalkıran, Peter Steudtner, Ali Gharavi, Veli Acu, Günal Kurşun, İdil Eser and Nalan Erkem are still being kept in Silivri No. 9 F-type Prison and İlknur Üstün is behind bars in Sincan Closed Prison for Women.
According to the indictment submitted to İstanbul Heavy Criminal Court, rights advocate Taner Kılıç, an executive from Amnesty International Turkey Bureau faces from 7.5 to 15 years in prison on the charge of "Being a member of the armed Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ)", and other rights advocates are facing from 5 to 10 years in prison on the charge of "aiding an armed terrorist organization".
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