Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV) has made a call for TİHV Chair Prof. Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Reporters Without Borders Representative to Turkey, bianet rapporteur Erol Önderoğlu and journalist-author Ahmet Nesin, who are facing a trial for participating in Özgür Gündem daily newspaper’s Editors-in-Chief on Watch campaign.
TİHV urged everyone to follow the hearing to be held on January 11 to re-express all together how groundless the allegations are and how valuable seeking truth is.
What had happened?
Since the recommencement of armed conflicts on in July 24 2015, which coincided with the interruption of the resolution process, Özgür Gündem has faced countless investigations, charges and instances of censorships. Against the oppressive measures, the campaign “Editorship- in- Chief on Watch” campaign was launched on May 3 in solidarity with the newspaper. The “Editorship-in-Chief on Watch” campaign was launched on May 3 against the oppressive measures and in solidarity with the newspaper.
TİHV President Fincancı, RSF Turkey Representative and bianet rapporteur Önderoğlu and journalist author Nesin were arrested on the charge of "terror propaganda" for joining Özgür Gündem's Editor-in-Chief on Watch campaign. They were and later released pending trial.
İstanbul 8th Criminal Court of Peace shut down Özgür Gündem newspaper on August 16. The verdict decision said that the newspaper would be “temporarily shut down” but did not mention how long it would remain closed.
Following the court’s decision, police raided the newspaper’s headquartersbuilding. 22 people were taken into custody.
Police have also raided the apartment of Filiz Koçali and Eren Keskin, as well as Sinan Zarakolu, who was registered at the same address. Sinan Zarakolu is the son of publisher, columnist and journalist Ragıp Zarakolu, who was registered at the same address.
On August 19, Özgür Gündem Publishing Consultant Board member Aslı Erdoğan was arrested.
On August 22, Özgür Gündem’s Editor-in-Chief Zana Kaya and Chief Editor İnan Kızılkaya were arrested on the charge of “being a member of an [illegal] organization.
On August 31, Necmiye Alpay, Özgür Gündem’s Publishing Consultant Board member, linguist and writer, was also arrested on the charges of “being a member of an armed terrorist organization” and “subverting the unity and integrity of the state”.
On September 1, nine people from the watch’s administration were asked by the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office to appear before the Press Bar within 15 days.
The nine were journalist and bianet Project Advisor Nadire Mater, journalists Tuğrul Eryılmaz, Hasan Cemal, Hasan Hüseyin Tahmaz and Dicle Anter, Özgür Radio’s General Coordinator Derya Okatan, Executive Editor of the closed haberdar.com website, writer Murat Uyurkulak, and HDP Central Executive Committee member Çilem Küçükkeleş. News reports published on about the watch campaign were provided as justification for the investigations against them. (EA/TK)
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