A group of Turkish journalists who identify themselves as “Ayşenur’s Journalist Colleagues” have appealed the international community and international civil society organizations to “do not leave jailed Turkish journalist Ayşenur Parıldak alone between the four walls,” on Thursday.
Reminding that Ayşenur Parıldak was just a 26 year old journalist and a law student, the statement said that “While she was studying, she worked as a crime reporter to earn money. When the government closed down the Zaman newspaper she became unemployed. After 15 July Coup, because of an announcement the policemen came to her school while she was taking an exam to arrest her. After a week in custody she was sent to jail. In the indictment they were accusing her as being a terrorist organization member by means of her tweets, her work at the Zaman Newspaper and using a social app named ‘Bylock’.”
“But the number and her mobile phone’s IMEI that sent to the court didn’t match to hers,” said in the statement and added “Despite of the fact Ayşenur repeatedly told in her plea that she never used that app and put the evidence of her mismatched IMEI and phone number, they took the action anyway.”
Underlining that Ayşenur Parıldak couldn’t find a lawyer for months because her family couldn’t afford one and unlike as it says in code, the bar’s lawyers were abstaining from this case as a result of the fear took country after the coup, journalist colleagues of Parıldak stated that “The lawyer she has right now volunteered as we took public’s attention on social media.”
“After the second trial on May 2, the court made a decision on evacuating her since they collected enough evidence and she has no qualm to run away. But afterwards when some social media accounts as labeled “troll”, working close to the government, point her as a target, she was arrested again without getting a chance to get out of the jail. Ayşenur has been in Ankara Sincan closed women prison for 9 months now,” continued the statement.
Quoting the testimony of Ayşenur Parıldak during the last hearing in the court on May 2, the statement went on as follow: “She talked with the judge about what she has been going through for 9 months in jail:
‘The prosecutor wants my imprisonment to continue and showing ByLock as a reason but there is no evidence about that in the court file. It’s been 9 months now Dear Judge. I speak to you, call out to your conscience every night in my dreams. I’ve been arrested for 9 months.
I am 27 years old now and couldn’t graduated from university because they didn’t even let me finish my exam. I promised myself not to cry, my lawyer told me not to too but what you see is my usual self. Because it is my mood all the time now. I am crying in front of you because even in my dreams I speak with you. I did nothing in 9 months. If you have kids then you would know what can happen in 9 months but I couldn’t. My life turned upside down while I was in jail.
I was just got divorced before the custody. You may heard about divorced woman’s traumas. Dear bench all I am asking from you is justice. I want to believe in our justice system. I am hoping for justice. I want to believe that the decision that will go out will be fair. But I can’t stand anymore. I couldn’t make it here if April was for 31 days. I can’t tell you how many times i tried to hang myself up with laundry lines. I am leaving you with your conscience.’
“Now 27 year-old Ayşenur was resisting with the hope of being released on May 2. She had countless suicide attempts but the idea of being evacuated kept her alive. Finally on May 2 the court made a decision on releasing her. Her family and herself were very joyful. Her mum waited at the gate of the jail where she will be released from for eleven hours. She was dreaming about hugging, coming together with her daughter and taking her to their home.
“But sadly after the targeted social media comment, the court once evacuate her couple of hours ago, come to the decision of arresting her again. Her mum destroyed after hearing the news. She waited with the hope of taking her daughter to home. She had to go back to her house without her daughter, leaving with tears on her eyes and making going home the most difficult journey of her life. Having trouble with resisting to the idea of giving up Ayşenur, doesn’t know about that. It was the thought of releasing on May 2 keeping her alive. And she was actually right on that, she did released on May 2 to get arrested again.
“Now she really has no hope. This time she has no reason to keep herself alive. Her next trial is on September. Her lawyer is going to object to the decision but we are not sure if it will effect the decision nor Ayşenur will stand strong for that long.
“We are sadly reporting this news to you our colleagues. Ayşenur was a correspondent for only 2 years. She divorced from her husband because she was being subjected to violence. After only couple of months later this traumatic experience, she got arrested. It’s now even more difficult for her to survive behind the prison walls.
“We are asking you to not to remain silent to the injustice that Ayşenur has experienced. We are worrying about our friend’s life. We may or not can get her freedom but if you join too, we may give her moral support. Please do not leave her alone between the four walls.
“Let’s give her our support to keep her holding on because that’s what we can do, all together. Please be Ayşenur’s hope, before it’s too late.
Ayşenur’s Journalist Colleagues”
Ayşenur Parıldak is not the first journalist who has been arrested immediately after release. On March 31, twenty-one journalists, who were released by an İstanbul court were re-detained in front of Silivri Prison by the police and 20 of them were re-arrested after long detention period. Three judges who decided to release 21 jailed journalists were suspended by the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) over alleged links with Gülen movement.
Similarly, in Antalya 3 journalist were also arrested a few days after the court ruled pending trial in April. Holding journalists in long pre-trial detentions on dubious charges and ordering their release only to be re-arrested on same charges have been a new pattern of abuse perpetrated by Turkey’s authorities against critical journalists.
Turkey stands out from the crowd by a distant margin by holding a record number of 235 journalists and media workers behind bars, breaking an all time world record. More than half of the journalists who are in prison around the world are now located in Turkey, a member of the Council of Europe (CoE) and a candidate member for the European Union (EU).
Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has documented that 235 journalists are now in jails, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 214 are arrested pending trial, only 21 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 103 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.
May 5, 2017