Özlem Ağuş

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Ağuş, a reporter for the pro-Kurdish Dicle News Agency, or DİHA, who helped expose the sexual abuse of juvenile detainees at an Adana prison, was being held at Karataş Women’s Closed Prison. Ağuş faced allegations that she was a member of the Union of Communities in Kurdistan, or KCK, of which the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) is part. She faced up to 22 years in prison upon conviction.

Defense lawyer Vedat Özkan told CPJ that authorities had questioned his client about her published news coverage and her newsgathering practices. Authorities focused particularly on her coverage detailing the abuse of minors being held at Pozantı M Type Juvenile and Youth Prison in Adana. On March 1, 2012, DİHA published an interview Ağuş conducted with a 16-year-old detainee who described being abused by adult prisoners. The government said it would investigate the abuse allegations.

Özkan said his client was targeted because she worked for a news outlet that focused on the Kurdish issue and reported critically about the administration. He said the government’s accusations of criminality were baseless.