Extradition of journalist from Ukraine to Turkey reason for concern, OSCE media freedom representative says

Journalist Yusuf İnan

Harlem Désir, representative on freedom of the media for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), on Thursday expressed great concern in a letter to Ukrainian authorities following the recent detention and extradition of a journalist to Turkey.

On July 12, 2018 Yusuf İnan, editor-in-chief of online news outlet News2023.com and former editor-in-chief of the Yerel Gündem newspaper and its website, was reportedly detained by Ukrainian authorities in Mykolayiv and extradited to Turkey.

“Journalists should not be prosecuted for expressing their opinions and it is of concern that a critical journalist was extradited to Turkey. I ask the Ukrainian authorities to clarify whether his freedom of expression and right to appeal were taken into consideration,” Désir said, noting that İnan has been accused in Turkey of membership in the Gülen movement.

In the letter, Désir recalled previous instances in which authorities decided not to deport journalists, such as the cases of Fikret Huseynli and of Zhanar Akhmetova, whose appeal is ongoing.

Meanwhile, journalist İnan was arrested by a Turkish court and put behind the bars on Thursday. İnan was brought before a court in the Aegean province of İzmir and remanded in custody on charges of being a member of the Gülen movement.

Turkey is ranked 157th among 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). If Turkey falls two more places, it will make it to the list of countries on the blacklist, which have the poorest record in press freedom.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by SCF show that 238 journalists and media workers were in jail as of July 18, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 177 were under arrest pending trial while only 61 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 143 journalists who are living in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the government also closed down some 200 media outlets, including Kurdish news agencies and newspapers, after a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016.

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