Jailed veteran journalist Karayeğen reveals details of torture by Turkish police

Jailed Turkish veteran journalist İbrahim Karayeğen (52), a night-shift editor at the Zaman newspaper, Turkey’s most highly circulated newspaper before its unlawful takeover and closure by the government in 2016, has revealed the details of heavy torture and ill-treatment under police custody and during his stay in prison as a pre-trial detainee.

According to the text of journalist Karayeğen’s defence which he made before the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court during his hearing on June 7, 2018, he was subjected to torture, subhuman and humiliated treatment during he was under police custody in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Karayeğen, who was arrested after the coup bid and has been held in Silivri Prison in İstanbul for over 23 months, stated that “My fundamental rights have been violated in a rough manner in the police department and in prison. I was taken as a suspect in police custody to the Anti-Terrorism Branch of İstanbul Security Directorate. I have faced with a subhuman and humiliated treatment. I was taken to a non-monitored room and handcuffed behind back. I have been insulted and assaulted brutally, which is also proven with medical reports.”

Zaman daily’s night-shift editor İbrahim Karayeğen (1st R) was seen with the daily’s prominent jailed columnists Mustafa Ünal, Mümtaz’er Türköne and Ahmet Turan Alkan just after their hearing at a courthouse.

İbrahim Karayeğen, who was detained on July 16, 2016 in İstanbul Atatürk Airport as he was leaving for a vacation, had been left in a solitary cell for six and a half months, his statement to the court exposed the previously unknown and bitter fact. He said that “The cops’ questions were not about me. When I was questioned about the newspaper I worked for, I reminded them the universal principle of the ‘individuality of criminal responsibility’ before law. ‘The law is over,’ they replied.”

Karayeğen’s case represented perhaps the most absurd one as he had not written any article for the daily Zaman daily at all. His job description simply required him to enter last minute breaking news to the late edition or make some changes to already published articles in the earlier editions after consulting chief editor or his deputies at the managing editor positions.

He stated at his latest court hearing that “My first statement was taken at 5:00 am. I had to end the statement in the middle because of my health problems and the oppressive environment. They have not added the second statement to the case file. I have faced with serious health problems for 5 days in police custody and during the 1,5 months in prison. Justified by the state of emergency (OHAL) conditions, prison’s doctor’s referral request to hospital was not fulfilled. I have been isolated in a prison cell for 6,5 months.”

The veteran journalist who spent 27 years in the journalism profession was also shaken by the news that the Turkish government put his 23-year-old daughter Zeliha Esra Karayeğen in jail on trumped-up charges of membership to a terrorist organization in August 2017. The police detained her on the spot when Zeliha Esra had visited the police station only to get a document required for her job application. Among the evidences for the Zeliha Esra’s arrest are her alleged use of ByLock mobile phone messaging application, her application for passport and the allegation that she deposited money into the now-closed private lender Bank Asya, which was seized by Erdoğan’s regime and was later shut down.

The full text of journalist Karayeğen’s defence before the court is as follows: 

“Honorable Chief Judge, Valuable Judges,

I was taken into custody 4 days after the July 15 coup attempt, the indictment was accepted after 9,5 months. Fourteen months after being detained, for the first time, I appeared before the court. I have been in prison for 23 months.

The indictment was presented to the public as the media structuring of a terrorist organisation. Three aggravated life sentence and plus 15 years imprisonment was demanded for me on charges of violating the constitution and plotting coup.

It was incomprehensible to demand the same punishment with a pilot who bombed the parliament or with a soldier who opened fire on the people without any concrete evidence being adduced.

Before responding to the prosecutor’s opinion, I would like to explain the facts about the indictment, which is the keystone basing on that opinion.

Esteemed Court,

The indictment has to be a legal text. This indictment was written so as not to change. The prosecutor made me a coup plotter and terrorist without showing any evidence. An indictment without evidence can not be called law, at the outside it is called lie and slander.

An indictment must reflect the rules of universal law, not current perceptions. It should be built on a rock-solid, tangible realities, not on political considerations and cyclical developments.

For example, a ruling party can account its opponents as enemies, traitors, putschist or terrorists. The prosecutor cannot compose an indictment that is influenced by these arguments in accordance with the political style of government. If he does, we would betray the law and his profession. The public prosecutor is obliged to supervise the supremacy of the law, not the law of superiors.

The news, articles and speeches mentioned in the indictment were written and said in the glare of publicity in this country.

If there was a crime, why did not the prosecutors act in time? Is it legal according to the laws and legislation to be judged due to the news time-barred?

Time bar for news and articles published in a newspapers is 4 months. If the press prosecutor does not file a lawsuit within this period, the news and articles would be archived.

Journalistic activities are shown as crimes in the indictment. Instead of making individual legal assessments and accusations for the defendants, the prosecutor put all the defendants in the same bag. This is against the principle of individual criminal responsibility.

In order to accuse me of plotting a coup, you would have to either catch me red-handed or prove that I gave instructions to the coup plotters. There is no such evidence in the file.

The fact that the demand of life imprisonment with rambling and groundless allegations regarding me doesn’t make this indictment legal.

The only evidence in your hands is that I worked in the Zaman daily, which was alleged to be the media organ of the organisation, and was handed over to a trustee 4,5 months before the coup attempt and closed after July 15, 2016 by a government decree.

The prosecutor claims, that the newspaper I worked in, gave support to the February 28 (1997 post-modern military) coup. When he says that, he doesn’t bring any evidence. Because it is not true. Actually, this newspaper was the first institution to be excluded by the military programs at the time. I’m the one who witnessed it.

After the February 28 coup d’etat, the General Staff banned the Zaman daily on the ground of (not eligible for) ‘accreditation’. Non of the representatives and correspondents of the newspaper were allowed any briefings, press releases, trips and military quarters of the  Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).

This happened time and again. It had been the subject to the news dozens of times. This embargo continued for many years, even under the ruling of the (Justice and Development Party) AKP.

Zeliha Esra Karayeğen and her sister.

Let me give you an example; our correspondent who went to the scene in order to follow the deceased (Grand Union Party – BBP leader) Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu’s helicopter accident, was left by the military helicopter carrying his colleagues in the snowy cold weathe by his own on the mountain.

On the 26th page of the indictment, the prosecutor claims that the newspaper professionally insulted the government implicative, encrypted or veiled. What is ‘veiled insult?’ How can it be insult if it is veiled?

On the same page, he also criminalizes criticism in the expression of ‘thoughts that seem as normal criticism.’

How can a definite judgement be made from implicative, encrypted, veiled, metaphoric or ironic writings. While accusing a person, shouldn’t they be getting clear information? If there is a doubt, wouldn’t it be in favor of the defendant?

On the 30th page of the indictment, the prosecutor alleged that the newspaper aimed to overthrow the government with conspiracies and compasses by giving rough edge of its tongue, insulted and attacked by crossing the limits of freedom of the press on the grounds of the government’s determinations on the closure of prep courses.

These are very serious allegations. However, the newspaper and newspaper executives were not filed a lawsuit with these allegations. So the press prosecutor did not agree with the prosecution. He could not find any crime in news and writings.

On the 37th page of the indictment, after listing news and columns after December 17-25, (2013 corruption and bribery) operations, ‘They tried to create perception,’ is written.

This is a problematic perspective towards the journalism. If we make up a crime of ‘trying to create perception,’ all the news would fall into the scope of crime. After all, all the news create perception.

The accusation on page 62 of the indictment is much more grave. The prosecutor says: ‘Even in the writings that are not found any visible criminal element, the limits of freedom of press and expression were crossed and the rights of state authorities and institutions were violated…’

The prosecutor was able to write that the criminal elements were found right after saying; ‘Even in the writings that are not found any visible criminal element…’ without any hesitation, without worry, without any professional embarrassment.

This sentence clearly reveals the spirit of the period we live in and the sense of justice at a disgraceful level.

The prosecutor is perhaps the first prosecutor on earth who invented ‘invisible crime.’

We are trying to defend our lives here against such surrealist shamelessness. Actually,  I’m not sure if we can talk about life where such kind of people are able to be prosecutors.

The task of the prosecutor is to reveal a visible crime with visible evidence. ‘Invisible crime’ is an unconscionable notion, which only the inquisition refers to, not the righteous courts.

Again on page 62, it is said that, ‘Even though there couldn’t be any crime element determined, with the writings completing the organizational objectives and strategies…’

I mean, there is no criminal elements in the news and the writings. But the prosecutor related these articles to the organization in his own way. He reached the conclusion that the organization completed its objectives with these writings. Again I am talking about assumptions, predictions and believes. So there is no concrete crime in news and writings.

There is no media outlet, which did not write the events being matter of public record in Turkey and the world such as December 17-25 operations, the search of trucks belonging to the National Intelligence Organisations (MİT), wiretapping the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the call for testimony of MİT Undersecretary.

It is the duty of a newspaper to report important cases of recent political history. Interpreting these news as paving the way for the coup and terrorism is an intention-reading.

Law does not do intention-reading.

From this point of view, no news can be made, freedom of the press and freedom of information would be ruined.

News and articles can of course be criticized. But this is not the duty of the prosecutor; it is the duty of readers, professional press organizations and communication specialists.

Here I will show you a recent example of the Constitutional Court’s decision. The news took place in BirGün daily on May 1, 2018.

One of the defendants of the ‘Assassination of Admirals Case’, Mehmet Orhan Yücel, sued a newspaper because of the news that his personal rights were being violated. Local court decreed TL 10,000 for the damages. The file went to the Court of Cassation.

The Court of Cassation dismissed the decision on the grounds that the article related to a real and contemporary issue and the publication was for the benefit of the public and it did not include any attack on personal rights.

Henceforth, Yücel went on the individual application to the Constitutional Court. The Top Court decided that the publication was in accordance with the law, and denied the application. Constitutional Court stated in the decision that; ‘The Constitutional Court or the rank of courts, don’t decide on how the journalism profession is done and about the techniques that journalists should use. It is because, those who express their own opinion can decide in which style and way of thinking it will best be conveyed. In this context, it should be kept in mind that Article 26 of the Constitution protects not only the content of the news and ideas expressed but also the way they are transmitted.’

The Constitutional Court said that the courts could not determine how the journalism profession should be done and how journalists report, and the journalist himself should decide in which style and manner an idea to be transferred.

Esteemed Court,

Now I want to go on with the opinion: The prosecutor’s office reduced the demand of 3 aggravated life imprisonments into 1 in the opinion as to the accusations. He stated that I have committed the offense of violation of the Constitution. He also demanded me to be punished as a member of a terrorist organization.

Twenty days after the opinion, the prosecution had an additional comment. This time, he abandoned the request for aggravated life imprisonment, stating that no criminal offense had occurred for violation of the Constitution. He also demanded me to be punished for being the terrorist organization’s leader by saying, ‘It is understood that the actions of the defendant are in the context of leading an armed terrorist organizations in general.’

I can understand why honourable prosecutor has given up on the coup accusations because there is no evidence in the file that this crime of humanity has been committed. There could not be anyway.

However, I do not understand, what has changed in the last 20 days over the last trial, and I have been promoted to be a leader of the terrorist organization from being a member of a terrorist organization? Is there any new evidence emerged? Is there a new witness statement? Whom did I manage, what instructions did I give, to whom did I distribute weapons, what actions did I organize, and to whom did I give the salary? The answers to these questions were not given. Because there is no such thing.

The concept of an armed organization requires continuous unity and organization in order to commit crime. It has to be an organized structure, with a hierarchical relationship. There have to be weapons, ammunition, and other tools.

In order to be able to talk about a terrorist organization, it is necessary to use force and violence as described in the law. Crime can only be committed intentionally. I mean knowingly and deliberately.

In the opinion, it is not stated; whom I am managing,  whom I am affiliated with, whom I am superior to, what kind of orders I gave, or  what actions I participated in. They are all abstract and ungrounded charges.

The prosecutor, who could not even put up a single piece of evidence, wants me to serve for years in prison with an expression of ‘wholesome actions.’

This is not only against law. It is also against humanity. Can a person be blamed so arbitrarily without putting forward even one piece of evidence?

I did not join any terrorist organization and I did not make any propaganda of any organization like that. If the prosecutor says the opposite, he should show us the evidence. 

If he is referring to a newspaper as a terrorist organization, or journalism as a terror action; it is a constitutional right to work for a legal and legitimate newspaper. I have not been tried for any news or articles I wrote until now. 

The things that are taken into consideration as evidence are some of the information in the appendices of the indictment.

None of these is legal evidence. These are speculative proofs. They are valid only in the conditions of this period. At the end of this period, they will also lose validity. Just as it happened in the trials of coup and maintenance order.

Our well-known writer, Kemal Tahir, was prosecuted for giving a book to his brother in the infamous ‘navy case.’ He served in prison for years.

During September 12 (1980 military) coup, paranoia had become so high that young people wearing red shirts were accused of making communism propaganda.

Today, these unfair and unlawful judgments of the past hurt our feelings, and they have taken their place on the black pages of history, and tomorrow will be the same for this period.

It is the basic principle of law that ‘There shall be no crime and punishment without law.’ No one can be punished for an action that the law does not define it as a crime.

No one shall be convicted of any action or omission, which does not constitute a criminal offense under national or international law when it is committed.

The principle of justice prevents the punishment of individuals because of actions which were not a crime when committed. Even if those actions are subsequently criminalized. 

Your Honour

I worked for the Zaman newspaper for 12 years as a night shift manager in the editorial jobs. I was not an administrator and did not have a position to determine the editorial policy. 

As I told you in my previous defenses, the newspaper is prepared for publication by editorial department in the morning. The night shift editor is obliged to place news in the newspaper in the most appropriate and most aesthetic manner in accordance with the directions of the newspaper executives. This is a technical task. 

During the course of my work, I have not encountered any event which can connect Zaman newspaper with the coup or terrorist organizations.

Zaman newspaper was not published underground. I have worked in a newspaper that was legislatively established and whose programs were participated by the president, prime minister, parliament speaker, ministers and hundreds of ruling party deputies.

Freedom of speech and expression is a must for democratic systems. The freedom of press are guaranteed by the laws, the constitution and international conventions.

The Constitutional Court has ruled violation of rights twice and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has ruled violation of rights once for journalist-writer Şahin Alpay, whom I have been tried with in the same file. 

Two high courts, examining the evidence in the file, have ruled that Şahin Alpay’s right to freedom of expression has been violated and paved the way to release him.

The high courts emphasized press freedom and freedom of expression in such resolutions; and ruled that the news, writings and speeches cannot be considered as evidence.

The European Court of Human Rights has stated that the criticism of the governments should not cause serious accusations of removing the constitutional order or making a terrorist propaganda, and added that ‘Democracy will rise on freedom of expression.’

Although these decisions are a precedent for all the journalists on trial, this situation is being ignored by your court.

The Supreme Court of Appeal’s practice indicates that newspaper employees cannot be seen members of a terrorist organization. The General Assembly of Criminal Chambers of the Supreme Court of Appeals ruled that members of the press would benefit from the provision of Article 30 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).

The Supreme Court of Appeals notes that the crime of membership in the armed terrorist organization can be committed with direct intent and the material elements of the crime’s legal definition must be knowingly and willingly realized.

Your Honour

The prosecution has included two twitter messages that I shared two years before the coup. With these tweets they have tried to illustrate my ties with the organization.

Twitter is not a clandestine application. Twitter is the most popular social media platform in the world and open to everyone, where people share their opinions freely or share messages that they like on the internet.

It is not possible to consider this as a crime if you have not praised terrorism or violence. I posted the first tweet in the opinion as to accusations on the August 5, 2014.

The public prosecutor has fabricated the evidence by distorting the truth about this tweet message. The prosecutor says on the article d of the defendant’s actions part of the opinion as to accusations: ‘Implying the investigations on Fettullahist organization members, the message that the defendant posted in his Twitter account on August 5, 2014 says that ‘What’s up, are you staging a coup? They understood that they cannot finish the Hizmet movement via the operations, are you going to take them altogether, what if these volunteers are more than you think.’

However, this is not the whole message and there is a sentence that does not belong to me in this quote. The prosecutor has overlooked his colleagues’ non-legal remarks. 

I have made a comment on my Twitter message, which I quoted from the Rotahaber website.

The website says: ‘What’s up, are you staging a coup? Scandalous words from prosecutors organizing the Sahur operation: We will jail 500 thousands of  people as in the September 12 coup, if necessary.’

And I commented this news as follows: ‘They understood that they cannot finish the Hizmet movement via the operations. Are you going to take them altogether? What if these volunteers are more than you think?’

If there is someone to blame here, it is not me. The prosecutors who thought of jailing hundreds of thousands of people as on September 12 coup should be blamed. Indeed, on September 12 military coup more than 800 thousand people were detained and thousands were tortured.

Mass detentions and gathering hundreds of thousands of people in a stadium without making a distinction between guilty and innocent is only the product of the coup plans. My message is a criticism to the statements of prosecutors, which are still unrefuted.

I still think the same today. The public prosecutor’s aforesaid plan is against the law.

If the prosecution is considering to establish a link with the expression ‘Hizmet (aka Gülen) movement  and volunteers,’ they were the determinants once used for the Gülen movement.
If you search the archives, you will see that many people in politics and bureaucracy use these concepts.

The expression ‘What if it’s more?’ is not used to mean that the Gülen movement has more members, it is used to indicate the absurdity of such a planned operation.

I shared the second tweet on September 18, 2014. It is a quote of Fethullah Gülen saying, ‘The war they have started is not a War of Independence… It is a rush to get rid of the dirt they are in up to their ears. It is so clear.’ And I shared this as: ‘It is so clear.’ 

Your Honour 

At the end of 2013, the AKP and Cemaat, which was once friends, fell out with each other. December 17-25 operations took place, four ministers resigned and later the police officers involving in this operation were taken into custody.

In those times there were two different ideas, and this divergency still goes on. The government was claiming that it was a coup against the government, and the opposition were claiming that there was a corruption network in the center of which is an Iranian businessman Reza Zerrab, currently arrested in the USA.

The tweet I shared is a reaction of an opponent journalist, who thinks that the custodies are unfair.

Your Honour,

The pictures of Fethullah Gülen were found on my cellphone. The prosecution used these as  evidence against me.

What sort of logic is that? If (Turkish President Recep Tayyip) Erdoğan’s pictures were found, will it turn me to an AKP member and if (Turkey’ main opposition Republican People’s Party – CHP leader Kamel) Kılıçdaroğlu’s pictures were found, will it turn me to a CHP member?

If they had added the photo gallery entirely in the file, so maybe you would see their photos too. However, law enforcement officers try to give an impression that there are only Gülen’s photographs on my mobile phone as they focus on the criminal evidence in their opinions.

Besides, I did not store Gülen’s pictures intentionally on my mobile.

As a part of my job, I quote news and photos on the net.

I believe that some applications save pictures and frequent used items to favorites file in order to remind them. 

The police who put these pictures in the file also confirm my opinion. The police made a note under the photographs that: ‘It is evaluated that these pictures are remained from the news sites and videos reached via the internet.’

None of the pictures are private. Neither do I have photos taken while having a meal with Gülen or drinking coffee with him.  

Your Honour,

In the opinion as to accusations, it is said that I was caught at Atatürk Airport when I was fleeing abroad. When I came to the airport to go abroad with an entirely legal way like every citizen without an informed inquiry and a passport ban, I was informed that some people gave a notice of loss for my passport. I was then detained at the police station at the airport for more than 24 hours.

I was taken into custody after the police made a series of contacts with the Passport Office.

What is the difference between traveling and fleeing? Does someone who wants to flee come to the airport with his passport and go through the passport check to go abroad? Can you call it a crime to go abroad by completing legal procedures with a legal passport, via a legal airline?

In order to be able to say that, ‘Caught someone while escaping,’ someone should either be sought or should be caught while leaving the country illegally. And I have nothing to do with these situations. Where does the word ‘while fleeing’ come from?  Since when using our constitutional rights have been criminalized?

Even in the case of state of emergency, if you are notified about a restriction, it is not a crime to go on a trip. This is the case, if we are talking about the existence of the law, the constitution and the codes and taking them serious.

I have not been able to understand how a claim of legitimate and legal travel has been shown as evidence of terror. Thousands of people came to the airport to go abroad that day. If going abroad is a crime either a strong doubt of a crime than why do not you judge the same thousands of people. If it is not a crime, than how can it be considered as evidence of a crime? 

Or the prosecution wants to say that ‘everyone may go abroad, but it is a crime for the opposition journalists to go abroad? Does not this contradict with the principle of equality of constitution?

Also I would like to say that I got a round-trip ticket. I mean, it was not a one-way trip. I would go, travel and would be back to my country and my family.

Your Honour,

Another accusation of me claims that have used a mobile communication app namely ByLock between October 10, 2014 and September 10, 2015. Even according to this false claim, it is clear that I have stopped communicating via ByLock one year before the coup.

According to the formal answers sent to your court by the ICTA and the Police the content can not be reached.

I did not download the ByLock app to my mobile and did not communicate via ByLock.

National Intelligence Organisation’ (MİT) reports state that 600 thousands of people throughout the world have downloaded this app, including 215 thousands in Turkey. According to the CHP deputy Erdal Aksünger, 1 million people have downloaded this app throughout the world. 

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has stated that they have reduced the number of users of this app from 215 thousands to 102 thousands. So there was an update. 

It was revealed that 11,480 people who downloaded different apps such as prayer times, compass and music has been canalized this app against their wills. Because of this fault, 1,200 people who have been arrested for months have been released.

IT specialists who has revealed the Purple Brain (Mor Beyin) trap stated that they have serious concerns about the 30,000 of the ByLock users’ list as they may not be real users of the app since they do not have any content of messages.  

In order to consider a claim as evidence, it should be presented without any doubt.

I am accused of using a communication app which is open to everyone and which anyone   can buy from Google Play and Apple Store stores. It is seriously problematic to consider using a free for all app as evidence of crime in terms of law itself. This is one of the ‘conjunctural’ evidence.

Furthermore, whether it is a crime or not, I insist that I have not used this app. The prosecutor dictates me that, ‘You have used it.’ What is his proof? After all this mistakes about the ByLock, which tangible data proves that the prosecutor did not get wrong about me?

Why have I used ByLock, whom have I talked to, what have I talked about? I’ve been asking the same things since my first defense. But there is not a single detail that sent to your court by the prosecutor about these issues.

Like as many other ByLock mistakes, will I be detained until the time that it becomes clear that there has been a mistake about me? Is not it unlawful and unconscionable?

A close example of these mistakes is that my son’s phone has been engaged with ByLock first but then it was understood that his phone is in the Purple Brain list. But it took 5 months to understand it.

My daughter has been detained and in prison for 5 months as his brother’s bylock was engaged with her until the truth was understood. I present the official documents in this case to your court.

I see the same probability that my phone has been fallen to the same Purple Brain trap like my son whom we lived in the same house and used same apps. 

Your Honor,

One dollar has been found in my wallet.

I have come to Atatürk Airport to travel abroad. I had some foreign currency and there was a dollar among them.

If the prosecution considers 1 dollar as the sign of the criminal enterprise administration leadership, then I am asking you to: Is not it necessary to be found solely in the criminal enterprise in order to consider this as evidence? How can a foreign currency which can be bought from any exchange bureau be considered as an evidence of a crime?

That day, if you had checked the wallets of millions of passengers in all the world’s airports you would find out that  95 percent of the passengers were having 1 dollar. 1 dollar is not a rare thing. There are 11 billion 1 dollar on Earth.

There cannot be such an accusation in law. I have explained where I have owned that 1 dollar in my first defense. That 1 dollar was a souvenir of the holy land that I have been in 2013. 

I bought 1 riyals and 1 dollars for almsgiving. This 1 dollar has remained from that time. Since I had not absurd idea that this one dollar may turn me out to a terrorist, I neither burned nor threw it.

Honorable Judges,

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan states that ‘If longing for justice is expressed too often somewhere, than there is tyranny there.’  In this respect Erdoğan is right but he is missing more. There is an atrocity in this country. People have lifted their hands to firmament and screaming for justice. It is impossible for the ones to hear this cry who see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil.

Again Erdoğan states that Turkish judiciary will be more independent after the elections and  we will woke of in the morning of June 25 in a Turkey in which journalists are no more arrested. I do not understand why after the elections, but not now.

Your Honor,

My fundamental rights have been violated in a rough manner in the police department and in prison. I was taken as a suspect in police custody to the Anti-Terrorism Branch of İstanbul Security Directorate. I have faced with a subhuman and humiliated treatment. I was taken to a non-monitored room and handcuffed behind back. I have been insulted and assaulted brutally which is proven with medical reports. 

The cops’ questions were not about me. When I was questioned about the newspaper I worked for, I reminded them the universal principle ‘individuality of criminal responsibility’ of law. ‘The law is over,’ they replied. 

My first statement was taken at 5:00 am. I had to end the statement in the middle because of my health problems and the oppressive environment. They have not added the second statement to the case file.

I have faced with serious health problems for 5 days in police custody and during the 1,5 months in prison. Justified by the state of emergency (OHAL) conditions, prison’s doctor’s referral request to hospital was not fulfilled. I have been isolated in a prison cell for 6,5 months.

Honorable Judges,

I wish you no longer continue on this unconscientious, merciless and unlawful process. 

Universal principles of law are still valid even in the state of emergency conditions. 

Your decision will be a manifestation of either justice or persecution. There is no such thing in the middle of these.

I demand you to acquit and release me.

İbrahim Karayeğen

Silivri Prison, Block 9,

Closed Penitentiary Institution

Ward: B2-18″

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 244 journalists and media workers were in jail as of June 21, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 184 were under arrest pending trial while only 60 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 142 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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