Eight people were taken into police custody in the scope of police operations carried out in Batman and Diyarbakır, cities in the pre-dominantly Kurdish region of south-eastern Turkey. Dicle News Agency (DİHA) employees Kadri Kaya and Erdoğan Altan and two other people were arrested, four persons were released, among them Batman Post newspaper writer Mehmet Karabaş.
DİHA reporter Kaya was taken into police custody in the course of a raid on his home by police officers of the Diyarbakır Police Directorate in the morning of 15 April. Altan, DİHA reporter for the region of Batman, was taken into custody at the Batman office of the Kurdish Azadiya Welat newspaper.
The eight people were taken into custody on the grounds of statements made to various media organs. The operations were part of an investigation launched by the Batman Provincial Gendarmerie Command eleven months ago. Seven people were taken to court with the demand to arrest them. Four of them were arrested by the Batman Judgeship on Duty in the morning of 19 April under allegations of "membership in an illegal organization". Journalists Altan and Kaya were taken to prison.
News published by DİHA and telephone conversations published on several radio stations and television channels were given as the reason for the arrest of the journalists.
"They were killed in the 1990s, now they are arrested"
The Human Rights Association (İHD) Diyarbakır Branch criticized the incidents in a statement issued by Secretary Raci Bilici. He stated that the employees were taken into custody exclusively on the grounds of their journalistic activities.
"Now we have to ask Prime Minister Erdoğan. So, were the journalists in custody and detention in Turkey not arrested on the grounds of their journalistic activities? So, press freedom did exist in this country?"
"More than 50 detained or convicted journalists are currently being imprisoned. Of course it is not a coincidence that these journalists have dissident opinions, that they are sensitive about serious problems and the Kurdish question in particular and that they are leftists and socialists. The attacks on Kurdish media organs in the 1990s that resulted in the death of dozens of people are being continued today by the closure of newspapers, raids, arrests of employees and prison sentences amounting to hundreds of years", Bilici said. (EÇ/EÖ/VK)
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