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A Banksy mural of Turkish journalist Zehra Doğan, in New York. Doğan was freed this week after completing her prison sentence. (AP/Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx)

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of February 24, 2019

By Özgür Öğret/CPJ Turkey Representative on February 28, 2019 12:45 PM ET

RSF Turkey representative in court
Erol Önderoğlu, the Turkey representative for the press freedom group Reporters Without Borders (RSF), was in court in Istanbul on February 25 alongside Şebnem Korur Fincancı, a columnist for the leftist daily Evrensel and president of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, and Ahmet Nesin, a writer and a columnist for the news website Artı Gerçek, for an ongoing trial over their participation in a solidarity campaign with the daily Özgür Gündem, the independent news website Bianet reported.

During the campaign each participant acted as the symbolic chief editor of the now-shuttered pro-Kurdish daily for a day. Önderoğlu, Fincancı, and Nesin were briefly imprisoned in 2016. Several journalists and activists have been charged with participating in the campaign, CPJ has found.

At the February 25 hearing, the prosecution asked that all three defendants be punished for "making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization," "provoking [the people] into committing crimes" and "praising a crime and criminal." The next hearing is scheduled for April 15, according to the report.

Zehra Doğan free after serving sentence

  • Zehra Doğan, a reporter for the pro-Kurdish, all-women Jin News Agency (JİNHA), was released from prison on February 24 after completing her sentence, the leftist news website Artı Gerçek reported. A Mardin court in March 2017 convicted Doğan of "being a member of a [terrorist] organization" and "propagandizing for a [terrorist] organization," according to news reports. She was taken into custody on June 12, 2017, after an appeals court upheld the verdict, CPJ documented at the time.
  • A Diyarbakır Court on February 26 ordered Rojhat Doğru, a journalist formerly with the northern Iraq outlet Gali Kurdistan TV, to be released pending the outcome of his trial, the news website Gazete Karınca reported. Doğru was taken into custody on December 5, CPJ documented at the time. He is on trial for "disrupting the unity of the country and state" and "deliberately injuring [someone]." Doğru, who attended the hearing via teleconference, was released on probation and under a foreign travel ban, the report said.


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