A court in Turkey’s eastern province of Van has decided to jail pro-Kurdish journalists Arif Aslan and Selman Keleş, who were detained in Van on March 20, 2017. Journalist Aslan and DİHABER reporter Selman Keleş were taken into custody by the police while doing their job in Van.
Aslan and Keleş have been referred to court on Friday morning after the finalization of their procedures at the police headquarters. After giving their testimonies at the prosecutor’s office, both journalists have been arrested by a court over alleged “membership to a terrorist organisation.”
As of March 1, 2017, Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has confirmed that 200 journalists and media workers are behind bars in Turkey, a world record by any measure. Of these journalists, 179 are arrested pending trial and without a conviction. Most of the journalists do not even know what the charges are or what evidence, if any, the government has because the indictments were not filed yet.
The Turkish government is apparently using arbitrary arrests as part of intimidation campaign to suppress critical coverage, muzzle independent media and silence journalists. Only 21 journalists who are in jail were convicted while the rest are in abusive and long pre-trial detentions. Moreover, sweeping detention warrants have been issued for 92 journalists who are forced to live in exile abroad or remain at large in Turkey.
March 31, 2017