Turkish court sends TRT presenter Usul to prison over alleged links to Gülen movement

Former TV presenter Turgut Usul, who was dismissed by a government decree under the rule of emergency declared in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016 from his duty at the state-run TRT, was arrested by an Ankara court and sent to prison on Thursday over his alleged links to the Gülen movement.

It was reported that following his detention by police Usul gave his testimony to prosecutor in Ankara. Prosecutor has sent him to a Penal Court of Peace where he was arrested and sent to prison.

Meanwhile, pro-government İhlas news agency’s news coordinator Ömer Faruk Aydemir, who was released recently after spending a period of time in prison over his alleged use of mobile phone messaging application ByLock, was acquitted in his first hearing before İstanbul 36th High Criminal Court on Thursday. Aydemir was released from prison on December 28, 2017.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by the SCF has showed that 242 journalists and media workers are in jails as of December 30, 2017, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 215 are arrested pending trial, only 27 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 138 journalists who live 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 more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt.

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