Senior editor to remain in jail despite lack of evidence

Journalist Harun Çümen

A court in İstanbul ruled on Thursday for a continuation of the pre-trial detention of Harun Çümen, the last responsible managing editor of the Zaman daily.

Çümen is standing trial on terrorism charges. Attending the hearing from Balıkesir Prison via a video conferencing system, the journalist asked to be released on bail, noting that he has been jailed for 330 days.

The Zaman daily, which was seized by the government in March 2016 and then shut down by decree in the wake up a July 15, 2016 coup attempt, was considered to be linked to terrorism by the Turkish government due to its affiliation with the faith-based Gülen movement. The regime in Turkey holds the movement responsible for the failed coup and has designated it a terrorist organization, although the movement denies any involvement.

The next hearing will be held on June 19, and Çümen will remain in jail along with hundreds of other journalists. 

SCF recently published the story of Çümen, who is also a senior economy editor specializing in the stock market.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by SCF show that 211 journalists and media workers were in jail as of March 14, 2019, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 134 were under arrest pending trial while only 77 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 167 journalists who are living in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

The government also closed down some 200 media outlets, including Kurdish news agencies and newspapers, after the coup attempt on July 15, 2016. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

 

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