A court in Hatay on July 27, 2017, ordered Erdoğan Alayumat, from online newspaper Dihaber, jailed pending trial on charges of “obtaining secret information of the Republic of Turkey for the means of political and military espionage,” his employer reported. Security forces detained Alayumat and his colleague, Nuri Akman, near the Syrian border in the southeastern province of Hatay on July 13, according to news reports. The court freed Akman pending trial.
Prosecutors accused the journalists of “being a member of a [terrorist] organization,” “aiding and abetting a [terrorist] organization,” “being engaged in militia and collaboration activities in the name of a [terrorist] organization,” and “revealing the secrets of the Republic of Turkey.”
Both journalists denied the accusations and said they were just doing their jobs, according to reports. The court ordered Alayumat to be detained pending investigation into the one charge and dismissed the other accusations, according to the Dihaber report.
Tugay Bek, a lawyer for Alayumat, told CPJ in October 2017 that prison staff beat the journalist in Hatay’s Tarsus Prison and then transferred him to Bafra Prison, about 736 kilometers away in the northern province of Samsun. Alayumat has hearing loss in his left ear since the beating, Bek said. The lawyer said prosecutors refused to accept a complaint that he filed about the treatment. Bek added, “His trial is in Hatay, he is in Bafra, hundreds of kilometers away.” The journalist’s family is allowed to visit him, and the journalist has said that conditions in the current prison are better.
As of late 2017, no court hearing had been scheduled.