Turkish singer and columnist, Atilla Taş, was released Tuesday after 416 days in pretrial detention. He was facing charges that could result in two life sentences for his suspected ties to the Fetullah Terrorist Group (FETÖ). Turkey believes FETÖ orchestrated the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016, which left 250 people dead and nearly 2,200 injured.
The 25th Istanbul Criminal Court dropped the charges after the prosecution failed to provide evidence of his usage of a Bank Asya account and a mobile phone application, ByLock, which the Turkish authorities consider links to the movement.
Twenty-six suspects still remain in prison under charges of “being a member of a terror group” and “participating in a coup attempt.” Their trial has been postponed until December 4.
Turkey has seen a sharp rise in authoritarian suppression of dissidence in the year since the attempted coup, as Erdoğan has shut down over 100 media outlets and detained over 100,000 people in relation to the investigation surrounding FETÖ’s role. Thank you to everyone who raised their voice on Atilla’s behalf as part of The Voice Project campaign. Please do so as well for the other artists and writers currently imprisoned in Turkey: Nûdem Durak, Sedat Laçiner, and Zehra Doğan.