Jailed journalist Şık says he is a ‘referendum hostage’ for being in ‘no’ camp

Prominent journalist and Cumhuriyet daily reporter Ahmet Şık, who was arrested last December on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda, said on Thursday that he is in jail for his views critical of the government and fro his support of a “no” vote in a referendum on April 16 on an amendment package that will switch Turkey to an executive presidency.

In a message to Bianet.com via his lawyers on Thursday, Şık said, “Like many who are being held in prison, I also know that I am being kept hostage because of the referendum.”

Underlining that he would lend his support to those who will vote “no” in the referendum, Şık added, “As I would have said if I were outside, being against all sorts of dictatorships, in every language, [I say] NO!”

Şık was arrested by a court on Dec. 30, 2016 on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) and the faith-based Gülen movement.

According to the state-run Anadolu news agency, Şık was detained for his interview with a PKK leader, Cemil Bayık, and his columns questioning controversial National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks that were allegedly carrying weapons to illegal groups in Syria.

It subsequently emerged that a remark by Şık at a European Parliament event in September 2014 was included in the investigation.

Şık had reportedly said that those who work for the PKK are also journalists.

Şık has been openly critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) as well as the Gülen movement.

According to an updated report released by Stockholm Center for Freedom, an advocacy group that monitors rights violations in Turkey, on March 1, 2017, the number of jailed journalist has reached to a new record of 200 with new arrestees.

Of these journalists, 179 are arrested pending trial and without a conviction. Most of the journalists do not even know what the charges are or what evidence, if any, the government has because the indictments were not filed yet. Also, over 180 media outlets have been closed by AKP government last year. (turkishminute.com) March 10, 2017

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