Turkey detains journalist Özbek for allegedly insulting Erdoğan

Journalist Gökhan Özbek

Gökhan Özbek, a freelance journalist and an outspoken critic of Turkey’s post-coup human rights abuses, was detained on Thursday for allegedly insulting Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“I am being detained on accusations of insulting the Presidency, in İstanbul… Goodbye…” Özbek tweeted early Thursday.

Özbek is known for his outspoken criticism against rights violations in the aftermath of a controversial military coup attempt last year and his support to the victims of such violations.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has showed that 283 journalists and media workers are now in jails as of August 18, 2017, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 258 are arrested pending trial, only 25 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 135 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 controversial coup attempt. Turkey’s Contemporary Journalists’ Association (ÇGD) recently announced that more than 900 press cards were cancelled. (SCF with turkeypurge.com)

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