A court in Diyarbakır ordered the release pending trial of news editor Safiye Alagaş after a year in pretrial detention on June 15, 2023. (Screenshot: YouTube/Botan Times)

Turkish editor Safiye Alagaş released after 1 year in pretrial detention

Diyarbakır, Turkey, June 15, 2023—In response to a court in Diyarbakır on Thursday, June 15, ordering the release pending trial of Safiye Alagaş, news editor for the all-female pro-Kurdish news website JİNNEWS, after a year in pretrial detention, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement:

“Safiye Alagaş lost a year of her life, which cannot be compensated by any means, just like numerous other journalists in Turkey who were punished without a conviction by the common method of prolonged pretrial detention,” said Özgür Öğret, CPJ’s Turkey representative, who attended the trial. “Turkish authorities must stop prosecuting Alagaş and other journalists for simply covering the news, and release all jailed members of the press.” 

Authorities arrested Alagaş in June 2022 alongside 14 other journalists and charged her with being a member of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which the government has designated as a terrorist organization, according to the 383-page indictment reviewed by CPJ. 

Erol Önderoglu (left) of Reporters Without Borders, Resul Temur (center left), the lawyer of news editor Safiye Alagaş, CPJ’s Özgür Öğret (center right), and Zeyneb Gültekin (right) of the International Press Institute attend Alagaş’ trial in Diyarbakır on June 15, 2023. (Botan Times/Murat Bayram)

In court on Thursday, Alagaş denied the accusation, and the prosecution presented her outlet’s news articles, photos, social media posts, and other content as evidence. She is expected back in court on November 9, 2023. If convicted, she faces 7.5 to 15 years imprisonment.  

CPJ’s email to the Diyarbakır chief prosecutor did not immediately receive a response.