Turkish court decides to release journalist arrested over corruption report

A journalist for the T24 news website in Turkey who was put in pre-trial detention last week following a report on alleged corruption in the Turkish judiciary has been released, Turkish Minute reported, citing the T24 news website.

An İstanbul court, which reviewed an objection to the arrest of journalist Tolga Şardan filed by his lawyers on Monday, ruled for his release from Marmara Prison in İstanbul. The court imposed a travel ban on the journalist.

Şardan was arrested on Nov. 1 following a search of his residence over an article that revealed the existence of a report by Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) on corruption within the judiciary.

In his article Şardan said the MİT report was submitted to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and had revealed various irregularities and corrupt practices.

The İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office initiated an investigation into Şardan, accusing him of “publicly disseminating misleading information.”

The investigation was specifically launched due to Şardan’s article about the MİT report, which he said had been submitted to President Erdoğan and focused on corruption allegations within the judiciary.

According to the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, Şardan is accused of violating Article 217/A of the Turkish Penal Code, which deals with “disseminating misleading information.” The charges were announced in a statement by the prosecutor’s office, which also confirmed that Şardan had been taken into custody as part of the ongoing investigation.

Şardan’s arrest comes at a time when Turkey is grappling with allegations of corruption within its judicial system.

Before Şardan’s article, İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor İsmail Uçar came forward with a letter sent to the Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) exposing corruption in the country’s judicial system.

Last week Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)  joined 16 other media and human rights organizations in condemning the arrest of Şardan.

“The undersigned media freedom, freedom of expression, human rights, and journalists’ organizations strongly condemn the arrest of seasoned journalist Tolga Şardan in Ankara,” the signatories said in their statement.

Take a second to support Stockholm Center for Freedom on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!