Five ETHA employees, including journalists İsminaz Temel and Havva Cuştan, taken into custody during the weekend raid
Police raided the Istanbul office of the Etkin news agency (ETHA) on 15 June 2019 on the grounds of a court decision ordering that “İstanbul Sokakta” (Istanbul on the streets), a recent supplement issued by the weekly newspaper Atılım, be pulled off newsstands. Five ETHA employees and two others were taken into custody during the raid.
The technical work concerning the supplement, published on the occasion of the upcoming 23 June rerun of the Istanbul mayoral election, was carried out at the ETHA office. The grounds for the publication to be pulled off newsstands is that it allegedly includes expressions that “insulted the president” and could “incite public unrest.”
The police confiscated the mobile phones of ETHA editors and reporters during the search, which lasted for over four hours. At the end of the search, police confiscated all memory cards and sim cards, the agency’s server, 11 computers, three hard drives, seven notebooks, five cameras and six mobile phones for forensic examination. Police also examined all books in the agency’s library. Access to the agency’s website http://etha10.com was also banned during the raid.
ETHA was unable to dispatch reports for hours on Saturday because all of the agency’s digital equipment was confiscated by police.
Police then took ETHA employees İsminaz Temel, Serdal Işık, Havva Cuştan, Mehmet Acettin and Ozancan Sarı into custody. Deniz Bakır, an advisor to the central executive committee of the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP), and Gülçin Aykul, an employee of the Ceylan Publications, who were both visiting the ETHA office as guests, were also detained. All seven were taken to the Istanbul Police Department. The grounds for their detention were not disclosed. Reports said a confidentiality order was in place concerning the investigation.
All seven are expected to appear before a public prosecutor on 19 June following a four-day custody period.