UN, Int’l organizations become party before ECtHR in cases of journalists jailed by Turkey

Zaman daily's columnists Şahin Alpay and Ahmet Turan Alkan were arrested in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

United Nations (UN), international rights organizations, Council of Europe will become party in the cases of the arrested journalists in Turkey before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), according to a report by Bianet on Thursday.

The request of United Nations Special Rapporteur David Kaye, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks and 12 international rights organizations including PEN international, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) to become a party in the cases of arrested journalists in Turkey before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has been granted.

The request being a party covers the cases of journalists Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan, Atilla Taş, Ahmet Şık and Şahin Alpay, as well as the journalists Murat Sabuncu, Akın Atalay, Kadri Gürsel, Bülent Utku in detention on remand in Cumhuriyet trial and journalists Murat Aksoy, Nazlı Ilıcak, Ali Bulaç and Deniz Yücel.

The 12 international rights organizations submitted their applications separately for the arrested journalists. The organizations whose requests have been granted are Article 19, the Association of European Journalists, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Human Rights Watch (HRW), Index on Censorship (Sansür Endeksi), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the International Press Institute (IPI), PEN International and Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

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.

zDetaining 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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