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Court refuses to free Ergenekon case journalists, adjourns until end December

first_img RSF_en November 23, 2011 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Court refuses to free Ergenekon case journalists, adjourns until end December Follow the news on Turkey Organisation Journalists threatened with imprisonment under Turkey’s terrorism law April 2, 2021 Find out more News April 2, 2021 Find out more News TurkeyEurope – Central Asia Human rights groups warns European leaders before Turkey summitcenter_img to go further News April 28, 2021 Find out more News Receive email alerts Help by sharing this information TurkeyEurope – Central Asia The trial of 10 journalists accused of involvement in the ‘Ergenekon’ anti-government conspiracybegan yesterday in the Istanbul district of Caglayan with the court rejecting a defence request fortheir immediate release and then adjourning until 26 December.Lawyers representing some of the journalists, including Soner Yalçin, also requested thereplacement of the court’s president on the grounds that he had already convicted them inanother media case. The request will be considered another court under Turkey’s criminalprocedure law (CMK).Many local and international media attended the news conference held yesterday morningby press freedom organizations including Reporters Without Borders at the initiative ofTurkey’s “Freedom for Journalists” coalition (GÖP).Most of the representatives of these organizations, including Reporters Without Borders,Human Rights Watch, the Helsinki Citizens Assembly and the Turkish Journalists Association(TGV), were unable to attend the first part of the hearing because the courtroom was too small for a trial of thisimportance.The presiding judge’s decision to ban observers who did not have seats was greeted withprotests from the activists. The ban was lifted in the afternoon.When the next hearing is held on 26 December, investigative journalists Ahmet Sik and NedimSener will have spent 10 months in prison and Soner Yalçin will have been held for 11 months—-22.11.2011 Two leading investigative journalists go on trial todayThe trial of investigative journalists Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener on a charge of participating in ananti-government conspiracy opens today in Istanbul. Oda TV news website owner Soner Yalçinand eight of his journalists – news editor Baris Terkoglu, managing editor Baris Pehlivan, newscoordinator Dogan Yurdakul and reporters Müyesser Yildiz, Coskun Musluk, Sait Cakir and YalçinKüçük – are also being tried with them.Reporters Without Borders has travelled to Istanbul to attend the first hearing as part of aninternational delegation that includes representatives of the European Parliament, the EuropeanFederation of Journalists, the International Press Institute, and the European Journalists’ Association, invited by Turkey’s “Freedom for Journalists” coalition (GÖP).“We are here as a reminder of the attention we are paying to this trial,” the head of the ReportersWithout Borders Europe Desk, Johann Bihr, said shortly before it got under way in the Istanbuldistrict of Caglayan. “We have already come to Istanbul twice this year to express our concernabout the wave of arrests of journalists and our solidarity with them. But no positive step hasbeen taken despite the unprecedented protests in Turkey and aboard. Instead the arrests haveresumed and now we are angry.“Ahmet Sik, Nedim Sener and their eight colleagues have been held for the past month althoughthere is no evidence against them. Ragip Zarakolu, a leading publisher and independentjournalists has been held for the past three and a half weeks despite his age and health. Otherjournalists such as Tuncay Özkan, Baris Açikel and Vedat Kursun have been held for years.Some of them are still awaiting trial. This is intolerable.“As for the 10 journalists on trial today, the prosecutors had promised to produce hard evidenceto justify their pre-trial detention. Where is it? Contrary to what was always claimed, the caseagainst them is based on their work as journalists. They are being tried for criticizing the conductof the trial of the alleged ‘Ergenekon’ conspirators, and for questioning the judicial system’simpartiality. Some are being tried for their militant coverage. If the judicial authorities do not freethem at once, they will be responsible for a grave threat to the country’s democratic future.”Ahmet Sik’s latest book, “The Imam’s Army”, was presented atthe Istanbul book fair on 16 November although the book’s manuscript was seized by the policeduring a search on 3 March and seems to have been the main reason for his arrest. The versionpresented by PEN was based on a draft that had been posted online.Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard and Europe desk officerJohann Bihr were among the 125 people who signed the preface. Reporters Without Borders hasmeanwhile joined Turkey’s “Freedom for Journalists” coalition in sending a letter of support toevery imprisoned journalist on the occasion of a current Turkish festival.It is time Turkey ended the serious abuses of which journalists are among the leading victims.Arrests of journalists have been marring the democratic model that Turkey aspires toembody. Reporters Without Borders issued an investigative report in June about the Ergenekoncase, which is at the heart of many of the current political and media controversies. Turkey’s never-ending judicial persecution of former newspaper editorlast_img read more