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The court has ruled that journalist Nedim Türfent from the now-closed Dicle News Agency who had already spent 17 months in pre-trial detention, remain in jail pending trial.
The third hearing in the trial of Türfent charged with "being a member of an illegal organization", was held before Hakkari 2nd Assize Court yesterday (November 1). Türfent attended the hearing from the Van High Security Closed Prison via Audio and Visual Information System (SEGBİS).
The court in its interim decision has ruled that Türfent who has been in pre-trial detention for 17 months charged with being a member of the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK), remain in jail pending trial although 16 of the 17 witnesses heard have stated that their depositions were taken under means of torture.
The next hearing of Türfent's trial will be on November 17.
Claims of connection to illegal organization by an anonymous witness
An anonymous witness has claimed that Türfent was the one"in charge of the media within the illegal organization".
"The anonymous witness has made groundless allegations, his/her words are a slander, a lie Türfent said and added:
"The witnesses who testified earlier, stated that they had been deposed under means of torture and when the witness statements did not work, they fell back on an anonymous witness.
Türfent's attorney Harika Karataş regarding the anonymous witness statement said "the statement of the anonymous witness has been taken in order to create a crime and a criminal".
Witnesses report torture during deposition
A witness joining the hearing from Patnos Prison stated that he/she did not know Nedim Türfent that her/his statement was taken under means of torture, he/she had been threatened with being raped to sign documents.
Another witness joining the hearing from Van T-type Prison stated also that she/he did not know Nedim Türfent and was made to sign documents by force in the police department.
The third and fourth witnesses made similar statements like the previous 12 of the 13 witnesses called to the stand in the first hearing and stated that they did not know Türfent and were forced to sign documents under torture.
Türfent making his statement of defence in Kurdish: They want revenge
Türfent, making his statement of defence in Kurdish said that the proceedings against him was the result of police wanting to get back on him over his report "You will see the power of Turks" from 2015 regarding police forces following which an investigation was launched by the Ministry of Interior on police forces.
Türfent noted that he had been receiving threats since then and added:
"Making reports on ditches does not make me a member of an illegal organization".
"Journalists serve as a mirror. A journalist can report about anything. A journalist can make an interview with a member of an illegal organization as well as the prime minister. This is not a crime. The aim is to reveal the truth.
"I am here for reporting on the ditches in Şırnak [ditches digged during curfews in predominantly Kurdish provinces in eastern and southeastern Turkey in 2015-2016]. Making a report on ditches does not make me a member of an illegal organization, it is a journalism practice", Türfent said and pointed out that he had been in jail for 539 days.
Nedim Türfent was detained in Van province on May 12, 2016. He was arrested the next day on charge of " being member of an illegal organization". (EA/DG)
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