Police detained Uğur, who covers the southern Turkish city of Mersin for the leftist daily Evrensel, on August 23, 2016, while he was reporting on a demonstration calling for the release of Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey classes as a terrorist organization, CPJ reported at the time. On September 8, 2016, a court ordered the journalist released on probation, pending trial on charges of “making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization” and “being a member of a [terrorist] organization,” CPJ reported at the time.
Police again detained him on October 6, 2016, when he went to the police station to ask for permission to leave the province, in accordance with the terms of his pretrial probation, Evrensel reported. CPJ was unable to determine why he was detained again. Mersin’s First Court of Penal Peace on the same day ordered him jailed at Mersin prison, pending trial by Mersin’s Second Court of Penal Peace on charges of “making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization” and “being a member of a [terrorist] organization,” Evrensel reported.
The state based its allegations on the journalist’s presence at the pro-PKK demonstration and his possession of a press release from an association of families of people imprisoned on charges of being PKK members.
Material published to Uğur’s account on the social media website Facebook-including, for example, a picture of jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan-was also used as evidence that he was propagandizing for the PKK and was a member of the banned group. Uğur denied the charges, and said the posts were published when his account was hacked, according to court records.