CPJ Protests Imminent Jailing of Turkish Journalist

Ragip Duran Sentenced for 1994 Interview with PKK Leader


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His Excellency Mesut Yilmaz
Prime Minister
Basbakanlik
06573 Ankara, Turkey

Help CPJ Protest the
Imprisonment of Ragip Duran
Send a Fax to: 90-312-468-5026

 

June 10, 1998

 

Your Excellency:

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) writes to you with great urgency about the case of Ragip Duran, a veteran Turkish reporter who has been sentenced to prison in clear violation of internationally recognized standards for a free press. Duran has been summoned to report to a state prosecutor's office on Tuesday, June 16, to begin serving a 10-month prison term for violating Article 7 of the Anti-Terror Law.

Duran is a well-respected journalist who has worked for several newspapers and news agencies, including Agence France-Presse, the British Broadcasting Corporation, Liberation, Özgür Gündem and other Turkish daily newspapers. His conviction stems from his interview with Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which appeared in the now-defunct daily Özgür Gündem on April 12, 1994. His sentence was confirmed by the Court of Cassation on October 23, 1997, and on February 16, 1998, a state prosecutor granted him a four-month postponement of his sentence.

CPJ, a nonpartisan organization of journalists dedicated to the defense of press freedom worldwide, views the conviction and pending imprisonment of Ragip Duran as a flagrant violation of the most basic right of journalists -- the right to "seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers," as guaranteed by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We urge Your Excellency to examine all possible legal options to rescind the court ruling against Ragip Duran in accordance with internationally recognized norms for press freedom. We also reiterate our call to the Turkish government to implement meaningful legal reforms to end the prosecution and imprisonment of journalists in Turkey for their publication of news and opinion.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We will continue to closely monitor all developments with regard to this case. We look forward to a response at your earliest convenience.

 

Sincerely,

William A. Orme, Jr.

Executive Director

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