Court rules to keep former Zaman daily editor in pretrial detention

Journalist Mehmet Kamış

An İstanbul court has ruled to keep journalist Mehmet Kamış, the former deputy editor-in-chief of the now-closed Zaman newspaper who was arrested in November, in pretrial detention, the TR724 news website reported on Tuesday.

Kamış appeared before the court as part of his trial on charges of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order” due to his alleged role in a failed coup in 2016, for which he is facing aggravated life sentences.

“I am a journalist. I have done nothing but journalism,” he said during the hearing, denying the accusations.

His lawyer said his work for Zaman and his payroll account at Bank Asya, a financial institution that was also shut down by government decree, were completely legal and cannot be interpreted as terrorist offenses.

The court ruled for the continuation of Kamış’s pretrial detention, adjourning the trial until May 2.

Rights groups routinely accuse Turkey of undermining media freedom by arresting journalists and shutting down critical media outlets, especially since President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan survived the failed coup.

Known as one of the worst jailers of journalists, Turkey is ranked 165th in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 2023 World Press Freedom Index, among 180 countries, not far from North Korea, which occupies the bottom of the list.

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