Aysel Sarica

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

CPJ believes that Sarica’s imprisonment may be related to her work as editor of the youth magazine Demokratik Universite Bulteni (published by Alinteri). She was detained in Izmir on September 7, 1996, along with Serpil Günes, Alinteri’s editor, when police raided a vacation apartment where she and several of their Alinteri colleagues were staying. Her colleagues said Sarica faced charges under Articles 6, 7, and 8 of the Anti-Terror Law and Article 312 and 155 of the Penal Code in connection with numerous stories that appeared in the magazine. Sarica’s lawyer told CPJ that she had been charged in nine separate cases stemming from articles published in Demokratik Universite Bulteni, but that the government’s August 14 amnesty for editors had suspended those prosecutions.
Sarica was also charged, and ultimately jailed, for membership in an outlawed organization, the Turkish Revolutionary Communist Union (TIKB), a violation of Article 168 of the Penal Code.
According to court documents, the prosecution stated that Sarica had given police a counterfeit identification card on September 7. Upon determining her true identity, the police learned that she was wanted for allegedly attacking a police officer during a May Day demonstration in Istanbul in 1996.
At the time of the raid, a photograph alleged to show Sarica beating the officer had been published across the country and a warrant had already been issued for her arrest. The prosecution offered the photograph as evidence.
CPJ is concerned that the circumstances of her arrest—albeit on outstanding charges ostensibly unconnected to her work—contribute to and follow from a pattern of harassment of Alinteri. No explanation has been given for the police raid on the meeting at which Sarica was detained. Furthermore, CPJ has not been able to verify that the allegedly incriminating photograph is in fact a photograph of Sarica. CPJ continues to investigate the extent to which Sarica’s Alinteri affiliation was a factor in her prosecution.