Selman Keleş, a journalist of Dicle News Agency that was closed through a statutory decree issued under the State of Emergency, and journalist Arif Aslan, who was an employee of the İpekyolu Municipality of Van province in eastern Turkey, have been released in the first hearing of their trial.
Charged with "being a member of an illegal organization", the journalists had been in detention pending trial for eight months and the first hearing of their trial was held yesterday (November 21) before Van 5th Assize Court.
Keleş: I am here for being a Kurd and a dissident journalist
Making his statement of defence in Kurdish, Keleş explained that he wanted to take photographs of the concrete blocks that were put up around the Van Metropolitan Municipality building after a trustee was appointed to the administration of the municipality and noted:
"The photographs mentioned in the indictment are not taken by my camera. Similar pictures like the ones I took, have already been taken before in many cities and none of these constituted a crime.
"I am here for being a Kurd and secondly for being a dissident journalist. Photographs similar to the ones I took, have been taken by all the reporters in the region as well", Keleş said and demanded his release and acquittal.
"Putting up a wall with concrete blocks is newsworthy"
Making his statement of defence following Keleş, journalist Aslan said that his purpose, taking photographs of the concrete walls was to make a news report and added that he had been working in the press department of İpekyolu Municipality since 2014.
Attorney Barış Oflas representing journalist Keleş said that putting up a wall with concrete blocks around the municipality building was newsworthy and demanded that his client be released.led the hearing to continue on February 22, 2018.
Journalists Keleş and Aslan were taken into custody while chasing news and capturing images around Van Municipality building on March 22, 2017 on the ground of "a suspected membership to an illegal organization". Their equipments were seized by the police.
On March 30, 2017, the journalists were sent to court for arrest and had been behind bars since then. (EA/DG)
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