The Committee to Protect Journalists Alarmed by Arrest and Indictment of Hasan Deniz

June 8,1999

His Excellency Hikmet Sami T&uuulm;rk
Minister of Justice
Ankara, Turkey

Your Excellency,

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is deeply alarmed by the recent arrest and indictment of Hasan Deniz, editor of the daily &Oulm;zg&uuulm;r Bakis.

On June 4, state prosecutors at the Istanbul State Security Court charged Deniz with violating Article 169 of the Penal Code (aiding an illegal organization) and ordered his immediate arrest. According to staff at &Oulm;zg&uulm;r Bakis, the charge against Deniz stems from the newspaper’s publication of an article on June 3, 1999, titled “PKK Gives Support to &Oulm;calan’s Project.” The article reported on a statement issued by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) supporting the call by Abdullah &Oulm;calan- the PKK leader who is now standing trial in Turkey on treason charges‹ for an end to violence and a “democratic solution” to political violence between Turkey and Kurdish rebels. The story had been widely reported by the local and international press.

Deniz is currently in Istanbul’s &Uuulm;mraniye Prison.

CPJ views the arrest and prosecution of Hasan Deniz as a flagrant violation of the right to free expression as guaranteed under international law. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees journalists the right to “seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

We urge Your Excellency to ensure that Hasan Deniz be released immediately and that all charges against him be dropped in accordance with international standards for a free press. We also reiterate our call to Turkish authorities to ensure the rights of journalists to practice their profession freely without state reprisal.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We look forward to your prompt reply.


Ann K. Cooper
Executive Director

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His Excellency Hikmet Sami T&uuulm;rk
Minister of Justice
Ankara, Turkey