Journalists beaten up by police during 2016 raid on Özgür Gündem daily’s offices appear before court as suspects on charges of resisting police
Journalists who were forcibly taken into custody during a 2016 raid on the head offices of the shuttered Özgür Gündem daily in Istanbul appeared before a court on February 9, 2018 in a trial in which they are charged with resisting arrest and insulting police officers.
During the August 2016 raid, which was conducted after a court ordered the closure of the paper, a total of 24 journalists were forcibly taken into custody, among whom there were employees of both Özgür Gündem and other news outlets, who were at the scene because they were covering the raid.
The journalists were later released; however, a court case was opened against 22 of the journalists on grounds that they resisted arrest and insulted police officers during the raid.
Journalists Gülfem Karataş, Sevdiye Ergürbüz, Fırat Yeşilçınar, Mesut Kaynar, Davut Uçar, Yılmaz Bozkurt, Doğan Güzel, Önder Elaldı, Reyhan Hacıoğlu, Sinan Balık and their lawyers were in attendance at the February 9 hearing of that trial, held at the 5th Criminal Court of First Instance of Istanbul.
Gülfem Karataş, a reporter for the shuttered IMC TV at the time, presented her defense statement at the hearing, in which she eplained that she had gone to the offices of Özgür Gündem to cover the closure of the newspaper. Karataş told the court during that she had been beaten with a metal stick by a police officer during her arrest and that when she had reacted, the same officer had threatened her with sexual assault.
Sevdiye Ergürbüz, also presenting her defense statement, said she had been doing voluntary work at the paper at the time, and that she too had been subjected to similar ill-treatment practices during her arrest.
The indictment seeks eight years and four months in prison for each of the 22 journalists. Charges brought against the police officers by the journalists on grounds of ill treatment, on the other hand, have been dropped.
Mezopotamya agency reporter detained for Afrin posts
Ahmet Kanbal, an Izmir-based reporter for the Mesopotamia news agency (MA), was taken into custody on February 8, 2018, as part of an investigation launched by the Mersin Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. He was released a day later, on February 9.
Kanbal was arrested as he reported to the local police department to give his testimony in a separate investigation on grounds of draft evasion. He was taken into custody on grounds of an arrest warrant issued against him as part of a separate investigation launched by the Mersin Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on charges of conducting “propaganda for a terrorist organization.”
Kanbal said the accusations against him concerned his social media posts on the subject of Afrin, the northern Syrian town on which Turkey is currently conducting a military operation. Kanbal said his posts were part of his journalistic activities.
For a full list of all the imprisoned journalists in Turkey, visit this spreadsheet. Lists of all of the foundations and associations as well as media outlets shut down can also be found at the same link, although on different tabs of the same spreadsheet.