Amnesty’s Taner Kilic Spends His 49th Birthday in Prison


Today, we wish Amnesty Turkey Chair Taner Kilic dogum gununu kutlu olsun (happy birthday). On the occasion of his birthday, Taner’s wife Hatice has been so kind as to share the following reflections on Taner’s ongoing imprisonment:

Today is my husband’s 49th birthday, but I won’t get to see him. For me and my three daughters, it will just be another agonising day without my husband, their father.

My name is Hatice Kılıç and my husband, Taner, has been held in prison in Turkey for more than nine months despite having committed no crime. He was charged with “membership of a terrorist organization”, falsely accused of being involved in the 2016 coup attempt. But there’s no evidence to substantiate this claim, and three independent forensic experts have refuted this.

But if my husband is found guilty, he could face up to 15 years in jail.

About a month ago, we were elated to hear that Taner was due to be released. I stood with my three daughters in the freezing cold waiting for that first hug in nine months, to feel relief at last. But it was not to be. A last-minute appeal meant that Taner’s release was overturned – he was simply driven right past us and taken back into prison.

Our hearts broke again that night, as they have broken every day for nine months without him. My daughter Gülnihal rightly said it’s like a bad dream but we can’t seem to wake up. “It is not something that becomes normal over time,” she said. “On the contrary, my father’s imprisonment becomes more and more difficult for us to endure as each day passes.”

And today, on his birthday, I wonder how he is all on his own without us, and when I will hold him again. When my daughters can have their beloved father home. When even a glimpse of normality can come back to our lives.

We think of Taner and his family on this particularly difficult day and look forward to celebrating Taner’s 49th year with him in freedom soon.

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