Turkish gov’t jails pro-Kurdish media worker Semiha Mete

Semiha Mete, a distribution worker of pro-Kurdish Özgürlükçü Demokrasi daily, was arrested by an İzmir court and sent to prison on Friday. Media worker Mete was reportedly detained by police on August 21 as she was distributing newspapers in Buca district of İzmir province.

Mete was referred to İzmir Courthouse on Friday morning. Following her testimony at the prosecutor’s office, Mete was referred to İzmir 2nd Penal Court of Peace, accused of “membership to a terror organization” and “spreading propaganda for a terror organization.”

Mete said she just distributed a legal newspaper and rejected the accusations. Assessing Mete’s distribution of the newspaper and her social media posts as evidences the court has reportedly ruled her imprisonment due to suspicion of flight.

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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