Turkish government releases French journalist Loup Bureau from jail

French journalist Loup Bureau

French journalist Loup Bureau has been released from jail, his lawyer said on Friday. “We are pleased to announce the release of journalist Loup Bureau. He will be expelled from Turkey shortly,” lawyer Martin Pradel said on his Twitter account.

On Thursday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called for a rapid resolution in the case of Loup who was detained by Turkish security forces on the Iraqi border last month, so that he can return to his family. Le Drian called on Turkey’s government at a Thursday news conference in Ankara to show respect for European Union values and called for a swift trial for Bureau. “I have underlined the importance of returning to a more conciliatory exchange concerning [Turkey’s] relations with certain European nations so that we may concentrate efforts on problems that we face,” Le Drian said.

Bureau was detained on July 26 near the Iraqi border while he was preparing a report on the Kurdish issue and what life is like for the local population. He was arrested on August 1 for aiding and supporting the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and taken to a prison in Şırnak province.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) official Twitter account also announced Bureau’s release in a tweet saying “#Turkey: We are very pleased to announce the imminent release of the French journalist #LoupBureau after 52 days in jail!”

Meanwhile, Evrensel daily’s Tunceli (Dersim) correspondent Kemal Özer, who was detained on September 4, was arrested by a local court on Friday. Özer was referred to court for arrest after the procedures before the prosecutor’s office were completed on Friday. The court has decided to arrest journalist Özer on the charge of “being a member of a terrorist organization”.

Kemal Özer was stopped by police at a search point on the Ovacık-Tunceli road in eastern Turkey on September 4 and was later detained. His seven-day detention was extended for seven more days later.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has showed that 283 journalists and media workers are now in jails as of August 18, 2017, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 258 are arrested pending trial, only 25 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 135 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

zDetaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt. Turkey’s Contemporary Journalists’ Association (ÇGD) recently announced that more than 900 press cards were cancelled.

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