Mehmet Ali Çelebi

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An Istanbul court on April 10, 2018 ordered Mehmet Ali Çelebi, an editor at the pro-Kurdish newspaper Özgürlükçü Demokrasi, to be detained pending the outcome of a trial, along with Reyhan Hacıoğlu and Hicran Ürün, who are also editors at the paper, according to reports. All three are of "being members of a [terrorist] organization," reports said. The court order came after an early morning police raid on March 28, 2018, on the Beyoğlu district building that houses the paper and Gün Printing House, which prints it, according to the reports.

During the raid, police detained the paper's publisher, İhsan Yaşar, along with Kasım Zengin, the owner of Gün Printing House, and at least eight printing house staff, the reports said. Police told the daily newspaper's legal team that a government-controlled insurer and fund manager called Saving Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) had taken over the newspaper and its printing house, reports said.

An Istanbul court on April 6, 2018 ordered Yaşar and İshak Yasul, the responsible news editor for Özgürlükçü Demokrasi, to be detained, according to reports.

According to an indictment presented to the court in late May, the journalists are accused of "being a member of a [terrorist] organization," "making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization" and "pressing or publishing the publications of terrorist organizations,"--all references to the PKK-- according to reports. The indictment did not specify what reports or coverage led to the charges.

When the trial started on September 12, 2018, the Istanbul court ordered the owners of the newspaper and the printing house, alongside the three editors to remain imprisoned pending the outcome, according to reports.

The newspaper was shuttered by a government decree in July 2018.

Since the takeover, police have detained at least 33 paper and printing house employees, the report said. Separate trials are being heard for employees of the paper and the printing house, according to reports. 

An Istanbul court on April 5, 2018 arraigned Zengin and 20 employees of Gün Printing House on charges of "being a member of a [terrorist] organization," "making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization," and "aiding a [terrorist] organization," according to reports. A court on September 18 released eight of those pending the outcome of the trial, and ordered 13 to remain in prison, according to court reports. 

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