Turkish gov’t to try two journalists with demand of 45 years in prison for each

Photo: Bianet

A Turkish court in Hatay province has accepted the indictment for journalists Erdoğan Alayumat and Nuri Akman from now-closed Dicle news agency (Dihaber) on Friday. Journalists Alayumat and Akman will stand trial on charges of ‘spying’ and ‘being a member of an illegal organisation’ face 45 years in prison each, reported Bianet.

Alayumat and Akman were detained on July 13, 2017 in Turkey’s southeastern province of Hatay that is located on the Syrian border. After being kept in detention for two weeks, Alayumat was arrested on July 27 and Akman was released on probation pending trial by a Hatay court.

The journalists face 45 years in prison each, despite  they have informed that all the reports and photographs they had taken, were served to news agencies. The indictment prepared by Hatay Chief  Prosecutor Tacettin Pınar accused the journalists of ‘acquiring confidential information of the state for political or military spying’ and ‘being a member of a terrorist organisation.’

The prosecutor  pointed the journalists’ reports they made on on the Syrian border as criminal evidence. The report of the journalists entitled ‘MİT (National Intelligence Organisation) headquarters provide shipments at nights and training in the mornings’ as well as photographs in the report that were included in the indictment as crime evidence.

The journalists are being held responsible for ‘raising support for terror organisation among the people, encouraging people to support illegal organisations and its armed structure, providing that the illegal organisation and its actions are considered legitimate, creating pressure on politics and the elections as well as increasing the pressure of the illegal organisation on the people in the region.”

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by the SCF has showed that 256 journalists and media workers are in jails as of November 21, 2017, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 230 are arrested pending trial, only 26 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 Gülen movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt.

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