Mustafa Gök, Ankara correspondent for the leftist magazine Ekmek ve Adalet (Bread and Justice), is serving a life sentence that was reinstated when a court convicted the journalist on new charges in 2004. Authorities released Gök on parole for health reasons in 2002, but the courts have rejected subsequent requests that he be released again on the same grounds.
A local court in 2004 sentenced Gök to six years and three months in prison on charges of being a member of the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Salvation Party/Front (DHKP/C), according to his defense lawyer, Evrim Deniz Karatana. Gök’s lawyers appealed the sentence.
Karatana told CPJ that the evidence against the journalist consisted of his news coverage and attendance at political demonstrations. She said that Gök had been targeted for his reporting on politics and human rights, along with his beliefs as a socialist. Karatana said her client suffers from Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, a brain disorder, which has led to a loss of sight and balance. She said he was jailed despite having a medical document that says he has a severe disability and should not be incarcerated.
Gök was also serving a life term on charges of membership in a terrorist organization, forgery, bombing, and murder, all dating to the early 1990s, according to an updated list of charges provided by the Justice Ministry. The life sentence was withdrawn in 2002 when Gök was released on parole for health reasons, Karatana told CPJ. When Gök was arrested in 2004 on the DHKP/C membership charges, the life term was reinstated, she said. She said their appeal of the reinstated life term was rejected.
Authorities have ignored his medical needs, the People’s Law Office, a free Istanbul law clinic that handled his case, told CPJ. In late 2018, the People’s Law Office told CPJ that the lawyer who had been representing Gök had been taken into custody.
In late 2019, the People’s Law Office told CPJ that Gök does not have further opportunity to appeal.
Berrak Çağlar, a lawyer from the People’s Law Office, told CPJ via email in October 2020 that Gök is in Burhaniye Prison in the western province of Balıkesir.
Çağlar said there is an ongoing investigation regarding a hunger strike Gök participated in this year. Çağlar told CPJ that Gök is not allowed to communicate with other prisoners or to have visitors, and is not allowed access to books.
CPJ emailed a request for comment on Gök’s case to the Turkish Ministry of Justice in October 2020, but did not receive a reply.