Berivan Altan

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Berivan Altan, a reporter for the pro-Kurdish Mezopatamya News Agency (MA), was detained in late 2019 on accusations of “being member of a [terrorist] organization,” a reference to the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party [PKK]. 

Police raided the Ankara house of Altan in the early hours of November 26, 2019, and took her into custody, where she was denied access to a lawyer for 24 hours and later transferred to the southern city of Mersin, her employer reported. A court in Mersin had issued a warrant for her arrest, the report said, without specifying further details. 

During questioning by police on December 1, Altan was accused of “being member of a [terrorist] organization” based on witness testimonies, the report said. Altan denied the accusations and said she was a journalist, MA reported.

On December 3, a court in Mersin ordered the journalist released pending investigation, her employer reported. 

Altan told CPJ on December 6, 2019, that she was not mistreated in custody but that being kept in a jail cell for eight days was “psychological pressure in itself.” Altan said police asked about her foreign travel, which was work related, and accused her of not being a professional journalist, saying they did not believe she worked for the agency for money. She was questioned about her news stories and asked who ordered her to write them.