Sebahattin Koyuncu

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Police detained Sebahattin Koyuncu, a reporter for the now-shuttered Dicle News Agency (DİHA), in the Silopi District of Turkey’s southeastern Şırnak Province on August 23, 2016, as part of a series of arrest raids targeting suspected Kurdish separatists in the area, his employer reported at the time.

The Silopi Court of Penal Peace on August 26, 2016, ordered the journalist released, but the prosecutor’s office in nearby Cizre successfully appealed that order, and police detained him again the same day.

The Cizre Court of Penal Peace on September 1, 2016, ordered Koyuncu jailed pending trial on charges of “being a member of a [terrorist] organization” and “making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization,” DİHA reported. In the journalist’s arraignment, prosecutors cited the journalist’s interviews with lawmakers from the pro-Kurdish, legal People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and his posts to social media websites as evidence to support their allegations, the leftist daily newspaper Evrensel reported.

Turkish authorities persistently targeted DİHA journalists for arrest and prosecution, CPJ research shows, before the government used emergency powers it assumed after a failed July 2016 military coup to order the news agency closed by decree on October 29, 2016.

Koyuncu was being held at Şırnak Prison, according to Evrensel.