Soner Karabulut, a reporter for the socialist news website Gazete Fersude, has been detained since November 2019 following a police raid on his Istanbul home. Authorities cited the journalist’s social media activity as justification for his imprisonment.
Karabulut reports on human rights and politics for Gazete Fersude. His recent tweets included posts showing solidarity with other jailed journalists, and a post on October 24 where he tweeted in Turkish, “My house is being raided by the anti-terrorism police.”
Karabulut was detained on November 7 after going to the Çağlayan courthouse to speak with a prosecutor following the police raid on his home in the early hours of October 24, 2019, according to his employer and other reports. Karabulut was not at home at the time of the raid. Before he could speak to the prosecutor, police took him to a courtroom where he was ordered jailed pending investigation, according to his employer. The court cited his social media use as justification for his imprisonment, the report said.
Kader Tonç, the lawyer representing Karabulut, told CPJ in late 2019 that a secrecy order has been attached to the case, which means details of charges and evidence will not be made public until the indictment is ready. Tonç said that Karabulut was asked about his social media posts, which were mostly on news stories he had covered. Tonç said the journalist was also questioned about a funeral service in a temple for the Alevis religion. Turkey does not recognize the Alevis religion, which is a Shi’a branch of Islam.
Tonç, who has spoken with the journalist in Istanbul’s Silivri prison, said that the police strip- searched the journalist and took a saliva sample against his will.