Arrest of Perihan Kara brings the number of journalists behind prison bars to 145

A freelance journalist filming Şırnak Province, where an eight-month curfew to allow Turkish security forces conduct operations in the predominantly Kurdish area recently ended, was arrested on Nov. 15.

Perihan Kara, who visited Şırnak shortly after the curfew was lifted was detained while photographing the aftermath of the curfew. She was detained by security forces as she walked along Sanat Street in Cizre, a Şırnak district where observers have claimed the highest amount of damage occurred.

The journalist, who was arraigned shortly after her detention, was arrested on charges of membership in a terrorist organization. Kara was sent to Şırnak T-Type Prison.

On Nov. 5, the Şırnak Governor’s Office announced that the curfew which had been in place since March 14 had been lifted.

In the specific district of Cizre, the first curfew was announced on Dec. 14, 2015. It was lifted after 79 days, when rights groups and monitors visiting the area had raised allegations of serious rights violations including civilian deaths. Organizations and journalists who have been able to conduct research in Şırnak report large-scale destruction of buildings and homes, which were abandoned by most of the residents during the curfew.

Kara’s arrest brings the number of journalists in prison in Turkey to 145.

Detentions, deportations and other forms of harassment

On Nov. 16, police raided the home of Şaban İba, a columnist for the shuttered Özgür Gündem. İba was detained in the operation.

According to social media reports, a cabinet decree formally ended the role of journalist Murat Aksoy, who was imprisoned as part of the coup investigation, as an advisor to the Republican People’s Party (CHP). Aksoy, whose wife is also out of work, told visitors in Silivri prison that his family was being forced into starvation.
On Nov. 13, Olivier Bertrand, a French journalist who was arrested while reporting in the town of Gaziantep near the Syrian Border, was deported by Turkish authorities.

Özgür Gündem trials

Independent news network Bianet has shared the timeline of scheduled court sessions where Özgür Gündem journalists and others who showed solidarity with them are being tried. Information about the trials and the dates of the upcoming sessions in English can be accessed here.