Turkish gov’t detains photo-journalist Kemal Özer in Tunceli province

Photo-journalist Kemal Özer. Photo: Evrensel daily

Kemal Özer, a photo-journalist and nature photographer for leftist Evrensel daily, was detained by Turkşsh police as part of an anti-terror investigation in Turkey’s eastern province of Tunceli late on Monday. It was reported that Özer’s vehicle was stopped at a police checkpoint at the entrance of Tunceli city center while he was returning from the province’s Ovacık district.

After his detention, police and gendarmerie personnel searched Özer’s home and seized his cameras and digital material. Following a health check, he was taken to the provincial gendarmerie command for questioning. The detention warrant was reportedly issued by the Tunceli Chief Prosecutor’s Office.

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.

Detaining 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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