DIHA reporter Nedim Türfent, in jail for 15 months, denied release in second hearing of his trial

 

On August 9, Nedim Türfent, a reporter for the shuttered pro-Kurdish Dicle News Agency (DİHA) was tried by the Hakkari 2nd High Criminal Court in the second hearing of a trial where he stands accused of “membership in a terrorist organization” and “terror propaganda.”

In the earlier hearing on June 14, 2017, 12 out of 13 witnesses who had testified against the journalist as per the indictment claimed their testimony was extracted under torture.

Türfent has been imprisoned for 15 months.

The hearing, which was due to start at 2 p.m., began after a nearly six-hour delay. Witness D.B., who testified via teleconferencing from Van province, said he didn’t know Türfent and he hadn’t heard of his name previously. He said his testimony against the journalist was taken under pressure while he was in detention.

Türfent also attended the session via teleconferencing from prison, however, he wasn’t able to ask questions to the witness due to connection issues.

Türfent’s lawyer Harika Karataş asked whether an attorney representing witness D.B. — who is a minor – was present while he submitted testimony against her client. It emerged that the witness had testified in the absence of a lawyer.

After this episode, a quarrel took place between the presiding judge and Karataş. The lawyer said the court should question the prosecution regarding the witness who admitted to having submitted false testimony and also demanded to know the reason of the six-hour delay to start the session. Following a brief row, the lawyers refused to make defense statements and the session was adjourned until Nov. 1, 2017 about half an hour after it started.

Lawyer Karataş told P24 after the session that the interim ruling that should have been decided inside the courtroom had been already drafted even before the hearing began. She said the court decided to continue Türfent’s imprisoned status without going through the proceedings of the hearing.

She also said that the case would have likely been dropped if the court had questioned the prosecutor about the witness who withdrew his previous testimony against Türfent.

She said planning to start the session at 2 p.m. meant that it would be impossible to hear testimony from the remaining 10 witnesses, adding that there had been a six-hour delay in addition to an already late starting schedule.

“What we saw today in court has shown that the court doesn’t want witness statements that these people testified under torture to go down on court records.”

Turkish journalist exiled in Sweden arrested in Spain on Turkey’s request

Hamza Yalçın, a Turkish journalist residing in Sweden since 1984 and the chief columnist of the monthly Odak magazine, was arrested in Barcelona, Spain on August 4.

Yalçın was holidaying in Spain when passport police detained him on August 3 was arrested the next day on the grounds that he was included on an Interpol Red Notice list, issued by Turkey.

State-owned and government aligned Anatolia news agency reported that in April, a court case had been launched against the journalist for insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in an article published in Odak in 2016. Yalçın also faces separate charges for “propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organization” based on different articles, also published by Odak.

BBC Turkish reported that the Swedish Government intervened in the process regarding Yalçın. The Swedish Foreign Ministry was making efforts to learn more details about the situation, and that they have hired a lawyer for the journalist. Officials were making efforts to ensure that diplomats can visit Yalçın in prison, reports said.

Harlem Desir, a representative for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) stated that OSCE is following the situation closely.

Gaziantep journalist’s lawyer files objection to arrest ruling

A Gaziantep court on August 8 turned down an appeal for the release of local journalist Murat Güreş, who was arrested for violating a confidentiality order by publishing testimony from a businessman who is incarcerated as part of a probe into the Fethullah Gülen network.

The journalist was formally arrested on August 2 by court order along with journalist Furkan Gökşen, who also published the same document. The two journalists are being held in Gaziantep Prison. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) tweeted that in the objection, Güreş’s lawyer argued his client should be a witness in the investigation and not a defendant

Detention period for Özgürlükçü Demokrasi distributors extended

The custody period for Zinet Aşan and Cemile Çiftçi, who were detained in Mersin province on August 1 for distributing copies of the pro-Kurdish newspapers Özgürlükçü Demokrasi and Rojeva Medya, have still not been interrogated by prosecutors.

On August 8, authorities said the detention period for the two Özgürlükçü Demokrasi employees had been extended.

Aşan and Çiftçi are currently being held at a detention center inside the Mersin Police Department and will likely not appear before a prosecutor or a court for another week. 

Gazete Şûjin reporter held by police

Gazete Şujin reporter Ceren Karlıdağ was taken into police custody on August 9 , while reporting on the People’s Democratic Party’s (HDP) Justice and Conscience Watch protest in the eastern province of Van. The journalist was detained while entering the Musa Anter Park, where the protest was held. Police said there was a search warrant out for Karlıdağ.

The journalist was released after testifying to police.

Doğan Media journalists testify in coup trial

Several journalists employed by the Doğan Media group on August 8 testified as complainants in the trial where soldiers who raided the Doğan Media Center building during the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.

Hürriyet columnist and Hürriyet Daily News Editor-in-Chief Murat Yetkin, CNN Türk General Manager Erdoğan Aktaş, Kanal D Senior News Editor Süleman Sarılar and CNN Türk cameraman Ahmet Akpolat testified in the hearing heard at the Istanbul 27th High Criminal Court. The journalists shared their accounts of the raid that occurred on Doğan Media Center on the night of the coup attempt.

Sendika.org blocked for 59th time

The Information and Communication Technologies Authority(BTK) has blocked access to news website Sendika.org for the 59th time. The website has changed its domain name to sendika60.org from sendika59.org; an almost weekly occurrence known to most of the website’s followers.

On July 4, Sendika.org applied to be included in the Guinness World Book of records at the time when it was blocked for the 49th time, seeking the title “the most blocked website of the world.

P24 updates lists of journalists

P24 has updated its list of imprisoned journalists after it was able to verify that former Aksiyon journalist Haşim Söylemez had been released. The number of journalists in prison has been updated as 163 as a result of this change.

 

Lists of all journalists in prison and the media institutions, associations and foundations closed down under the State of Emergency can be viewed here.