Journalist Güven arrested by an İstanbul court over alleged terror propaganda

Journalist Oğuz Güven hugs his daughter Demet Güven Akyıldız at the İstanbul Courthouse, three days after his detention.

Cumhuriyet’s website editor Oğuz Güven, who was detained on May 12 for a report that appeared on the daily’s website about the recent traffic death of Denizli Chief Prosecutor Mustafa Alper in Turkey’s western province of Denizli, was arrested by an Istanbul on Monday, DHA reported.

Güven, who was taken to the Istanbul Courthouse in Çağlayan following processing at police headquarters, was referred to court after his testimony to a prosecutor.

According to the report, Güven, who was taken to the Istanbul Courthouse in Çağlayan following processing at police headquarters, was referred to court after his testimony to a prosecutor.

On Sunday, jurists expressed reactions to the “unlawful detention” of Oğuz, calling for the immediate release of the journalist.

The European Union on Saturday reacted to the detention of Güven, calling on Turkey to respect the highest democratic standards and practices.

Güven was detained early Friday due to a report that appeared on the newspaper’s website about the recent traffic death of a public prosecutor in the western province of Denizli.

“I am being taken into custody,” Güven tweeted on Friday without elaborating on the charges directed against him.

It later emerged that Güven’s detention was related to a report about the death of Denizli Chief Public Prosecutor Alper in a traffic accident on Wednesday. Güven is accused of disseminating the propaganda of a terrorist organization.

According to Turkish media reports, detention warrants were also issued for 32 readers who left comments under the relevant story.

Cumhuriyet’s Editor-in-Chief Murat Sabuncu was in early November arrested along with eight other Cumhuriyet columnists and executives for allegedly committing crimes on behalf of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15.

Meanwhile, former Cumhuriyet Editor-in-Chief Can Dündar earlier moved to Germany after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan personally targeted him for a sensational report in Cumhuriyet about alleged illegal arms deliveries by Turkey to opposition groups in Syria.

Rights organizations estimate the number of jailed journalists in Turkey as between 160 and 235.

Amnesty International recently projected the names of imprisoned Turkish journalists onto the facade of the Turkish Embassy in The Hague.

AI also launched a campaign on Twitter late in March to support jailed journalists in Turkey, calling for their release, with the hashtag #FreeTurkeyMedia.

Turkey is ranked 155th among 180 countries in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on April 26.

If Turkey falls four more ranks, it will make it to the list of the countries on the blacklist, which has the poorest records in press freedom.

The US-based Freedom House, an independent watchdog organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom around the world, has named Turkey as among the countries that have a “not free” press, in a report released on April 28.

According to “Freedom of the Press 2017,” the Turkish government, using enhanced powers under a state of emergency, carried out a massive purge of media outlets accused of links to the attempted military coup in July.

Turkey is the leading jailer of journalists in the world with one third of arrested journalists across the globe being held in Turkish jails. Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has documented that 237 journalists are now in jails, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 215 are arrested pending trial, only 22 journalists remain convicted, 3 detained and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 100 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey. Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the coup attempt. (SCF with turkishminute.com) May 15, 2017

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