Turkish court rules to jail Kurdish journalist Sıddık Damar

Sıddık Damar, a reporter for the now-closed pro-Kurdish Dicle news agency (DİHA), was arrested by a Turkish court in İstanbul on Wednesday over his social media posts.

According to a report by online news outlet Gazette Duvar, Damar was detained by police on Tuesday in İstanbul and taken to the Fatih/Aksaray Vedat Ulusoy Police Station, after which he was referred to a court at İstanbul’s Çağlayan Courthouse. Damar was arrested by the court for his social media posts and sent to pretrial detention at Metris Prison.

Turkish prosecutors had launched an investigation into Damar for his reports covering developments in Kurdish-populated cities under curfew. A court had sentenced the journalist, who was arrested in August 2017, to two years, six months in prison however subsequently ruled for his release.

Turkey is ranked 157th among 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Wednesday. If Turkey falls two more places, it will make it to the list of countries on the blacklist, which have the poorest record in press freedom.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by SCF show that 253 journalists and media workers were in jail as of May 1, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 191 were under arrest pending trial while only 62 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 142 journalists who are living in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the government also closed down about 200 media outlets after a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

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