Öztürk, who was in police custody for 12 days, was charged with “aiding FETÖ without being its member”

 

Ece Sevim Öztürk, the editor-in-chief of the Çağdaş Ses (Contemporary Voice) news website, was jailed pending trial late on 20 June after 12 days in police custody.

Öztürk, who has recently become known for her critical coverage of the 15 July 2016 coup attempt, was detained overnight by the police on 8 June. News reports said she had been arrested as part of an investigation launched by the Organized Crime department of the Istanbul Republican Chief Prosecutor’s Office on the ground that “she had shared pro-FETÖ posts on a social media website.”

Öztürk was questioned by a prosecutor on 20 June and then referred to the Criminal Judgeship of Peace on Duty of the Istanbul Courthouse with a request for her imprisonment pending trial. The prosecutor said she “knowingly and willingly aided the terrorist organization without being a part of its hierarchical structure.”

Authorities blame US-based cleric Fethullah Gülen’s network, now officially called FETÖ, for the 15 July coup attempt.

In a statement released on 14 June, Öztürk’s lawyers Efkan Bolaç and Ümit Karadağ said Öztürk had not committed any crime and that she had only shared her “questions” stemming from a study of open source information with the public.

“Our client stands behind her stories and is able to verify them with necessary documents. Our client has not acquired any secret information from anyone; she merely did reporting, using open sources — case files, testimonies, documents presented in ongoing [coup attempt] trials. If our client is to be charged for using documents and information accessible by the public, then no one can feel protected by the law,” Öztürk’s lawyers said. “Putting journalism on trial means interference with the constitutional and universal right to receive information.”

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