Two journalists detained in Turkey based on ‘reasonable suspicion’

Journalists Erdoğan Alayamut and Nuri Akman.

Two journalists working for the Dihaber news website, Erdoğan Alayumat and Nuri Akman, were detained on Thursday evening in Turkey’s southeastern province of Gaziantep based on “reasonable suspicion,” the Artigerçek news website reported on Friday.

According to the report, Alayumat and Akman, who were following news on the southern Turkish border between Hatay and Gaziantep provinces, were detained in the central Islahiye district based on a complaint against them and on “reasonable suspicion.”

In 2014, the Turkish government facilitated detentions and pretrial arrests through an amendment to a law that removed the criteria of “strong suspicion” and “substantial evidence” and replaced them with “reasonable suspicion.” The amendment led to thousands of detentions and pretrial arrests in a short period of time.

The journalists were taken to the Islahiye Police Station where their cameras were seized.

İsa Nuri Demir, who was taken to the police station together with the journalists, was released.

Turkey’a autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently said on a BBC program that no one was jailed in Turkey because of journalism, upon being reminded by a reporter that 160 media outlets were closed down and 2,500 journalists or media workers were sacked from their jobs in Turkey in the aftermath of a failed coup on July 15, 2016.

Erdoğan claimed that jailed journalists were affiliated with terrorist organizations and that some were arrested because they were involved in robbery.

Turkey is the leading jailer of journalists in the world. The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has documented that 264 journalists are now in jails as of July 12, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 239 are arrested pending trial, only 25 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 105 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. (SCF with July 14, 2017

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