A Turkish court has released Gabriele del Grande, an Italian journalist working for the ANSA news agency, who was detained during a security check in the southern province of Hatay earlier this month, according to a statement from Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano.
Writing from his Twitter account on Monday morning, Alfano wrote that del Grande is free now, he has just talked to him and the journalist is on his way back to Italy.
Alfano also offered his thanks to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu for the release of the Italian journalist.
Del Grande was arrested on April 9 in Hatay where he was interviewing Syrian refugees for a book he is writing about the war and the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The Italian journalist began a hunger strike later in mid April and was being held in an administrative detention center in Muğla province, on the Aegean Sea.
Last Friday, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on Turkish authorities to release Del Grande.
“Turkish authorities should clarify Gabriele’s situation and ensure all his rights are respected. Most importantly, they should release him so he can get back to doing what he does best: telling good, important stories,” HRW said in an article posted on its website.
Turkey is the worst jailer of journalists and media workers in the world. Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has announced the number of journalists behind bars as of April 20, 2017 reached to a new record with 235 languishing in Turkish jails, most without a trial and convictions. Of these journalists, 214 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 4 journalists are under detention on Friday and 100 journalists are wanted and 839 have been charged in Turkey. (SCF with turkishminute.com) April 24, 2917