Police patrol Barcelona-El Prat airport on June 13, 2017. (Reuters/Albert Gea)
Police patrol Barcelona-El Prat airport on June 13, 2017. (Reuters/Albert Gea)

Spain should release journalist arrested on Turkish warrant

New York, August 9, 2017–Spanish authorities should immediately and unconditionally release Hamza Yalçın, a writer for the monthly, leftist, Turkish magazine Odak Dergisi, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Police arrested Yalçın, a citizen of Turkey and Sweden, at Barcelona’s El Prat airport on August 3 and now detain him pending an extradition hearing on Turkish charges of insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and maintaining “terrorist links” with the banned Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP-C), according to media reports.

“Turkish authorities have detained so many journalists and closed so many media outlets on bogus terrorism charges that nobody but the government’s most fervent supporters believes them anymore,” CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. “Spain should not make itself an accomplice to the injustices Turkey’s thin-skinned government daily perpetrates against the press, and should release Hamza Yalçın without any further delay. Deporting Yalçın would set a terrible precedent for those Turkish journalists who have escaped Turkey for the relative freedom of the European Union.”

Yalçın has written for Odak Dergisi, which is often critical of the Turkish government, since emigrating to Sweden in 1984, according to The Associated Press.

The Spanish Interior Ministry did not immediately reply to CPJ’s email requesting comment.

In December 2016, when CPJ last conducted its annual census of journalists jailed around the world, Turkey imprisoned at least 81 journalists for their work–more than any other country at any time in the 25 years CPJ has kept detailed records.