2016 prison census: 259 journalists jailed worldwide

Click on a country name to see summaries of individual cases.


Medium
Charges
Freelance / Staff
Health Problems
Foreign / Local
Gender

2016

2000

Azerbaijan: 5

Nijat Aliyev, Azadxeber

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State, Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
May 20, 2012

Aliyev, editor-in-chief of the independent news website Azadxeber, was detained near a subway station in downtown Baku and charged with possession of illegal drugs. Colleagues disputed the charges and said they were in retaliation for his journalism. Aliyev's deputy, Parvin Zeynalov, told local journalists that the outlet's critical reporting on the government's religion policies, including perceived anti-Islamic activities, could have prompted the editor's arrest.

CPJ has documented a pattern in which Azerbaijani authorities file questionable drug charges against journalists whose coverage has been at odds with official views.

Aliyev's lawyer, Anar Gasimli, told the local press freedom group Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety that Aliyev said investigators tortured him in custody and forced him to admit he had drugs in his possession. The institute quoted another lawyer for the journalist, Yalchin Imamov, as saying that two of Aliyev's teeth were broken and his ear injured.

In January 2013, authorities brought additional charges against Aliyev--illegal import and sale of religious literature, making calls to overturn the constitutional regime, and incitement to ethnic and religious hatred, the institute reported. In March 2013, investigators finished the investigation against the editor, according to local press reports.

On December 9, 2013, the Baku Court for Grave Crimes sentenced Aliyev to 10 years in prison, according to the independent regional news website Kavkazsky Uzel. In June 2014, Azerbaijan's Court of Appeals denied Aliyev's appeal, reports said.

In April 2016, the Supreme Court of Azerbaijan denied Aliyev's appeal, the independent TV station Meydan TV reported. In July 2016, the journalist's attorney told the independent Azerbaijani news agency Turan that he planned to file a complaint with the European Court for Human Rights, but authorities were withholding the text of the verdict, which is required to file a complaint.

CPJ could not determine the state of the journalist's health in late 2016.

Araz Guliyev, Xeber 44

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
September 8, 2012

Guliyev, chief editor of news website Xeber 44, was arrested on hooliganism charges in September 2012 while reporting on a protest in the southeastern city of Masally, news reports said. Residents were protesting about dancers at a festival who they claimed were not properly clothed, reports said. Police arrested the demonstrators, who were calling on the festival organizers to respect religious traditions.

During Guliyev's pretrial detention, authorities expanded his charges to include "illegal possession, storage, and transportation of firearms," "participation in activities that disrupt public order," "inciting ethnic and religious hatred," "resisting authority," and "offensive action against the flag and emblem of Azerbaijan."

Guliyev's brother, Azer, told the independent regional news website Kavkazsky Uzel that his brother's imprisonment could be related to his coverage of protests against an official ban on headscarves and veils in public schools. Xeber 44 covers news about religious life in Azerbaijan and international events in the Islamic world. The journalist's lawyer told Kavkazsky Uzel that investigators claimed to have found a grenade while searching Guliyev's home, but his lawyer said the investigators had planted it.

In April 2013, the Lankaran Court on Grave Crimes convicted Guliyev of all charges and sentenced him to eight years in prison.

Guliyev's lawyer, Fariz Namazli, told the local press freedom organization Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety that the charges against the journalist were not substantiated in court and that the testimony of witnesses conflicted. The lawyer said that Guliyev had been beaten by authorities after his arrest and that he was not immediately granted access to a lawyer.

News reports said that Guliyev filed an appeal, which was denied by regional courts. In July 2014, the Supreme Court of Azerbaijan upheld the journalist's sentence. In Azerbaijan, a case cannot be appealed once the Supreme Court has ruled.

Guliyev was being held at Prison No. 14, outside Baku, according to Kavkazsky Uzel and an August 2014 report on political prisoners in Azerbaijan by a group of lawyers, human rights defenders, and non-governmental organizations. In late 2016, CPJ could not determine the state of his health.

Seymur Hazi, Azadliq

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
August 29, 2014

Police in the eastern Absheron district arrested Hazi, a reporter for the opposition newspaper Azadliq, over claims that he attacked a man at a bus stop, the independent regional news website Kavkazsky Uzel reported. The day after his arrest, the Absheron District Court ordered the journalist, who also uses the name Haziyev, to be held in pretrial detention for two months, the report said. He was charged with hooliganism.

Authorities said that while waiting for a bus on his way to work, Hazi beat a Baku resident named Magerram Hasanov, according to Kavkazsky Uzel. Hazi said in court that he had acted in self-defense, Kavkazsky Uzel reported. He said Hasanov had insulted and attacked him. Elton Guliyev, the journalist's lawyer, told Kavkazsky Uzel that he believed authorities had orchestrated the altercation because police arrived moments after it started. Guliyev said he believes Hazi was imprisoned in retaliation for his journalism.

Hazi often criticized the Azerbaijani government's domestic and foreign policies in his reports for Azadliq, according to Kavkazsky Uzel. As a host for Azadliq's online TV program "Azerbaijan Saati" (Azerbaijani Hour), he was critical of government corruption and human rights abuses.

Hazi was sentenced to five years in jail on January 29, 2015. A court upheld the sentence on September 29, 2015, according to the local press freedom group, Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety.

In 2016, Hazi received the Free Media Award, presented jointly by the Olso-based Fritt Ord and the Hamburg-based ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius foundations, for reporting on corruption and the abuse of power.

Hazi is being held at Baku Investigative Prison No. 1. In late 2016, CPJ could not determine the state of his health.

Afgan Sadygov, Azel

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
November 22, 2016

Sadygov, the founder and chief editor of regional news website Azel, was arrested outside the eastern city of Jalilabad on November 22, 2016, on charges of aggravated assault, and authorities ordered him detained for three months pending investigation, according to news reports.

Sadygov reported on allegations of corruption in the local administration for Azel, and managed the Facebook page "Our Jalilabad" on which he often criticized local authorities.

The charge relates to an incident on August 9, 2016, when the head of the city's executive branch, Aziz Azizov, summoned the journalist to the city administration, according to local and international media reports. Azizov allegedly asked the journalist to remove his critical reports and allegedly offered him money to cease reporting, his lawyer Elchin Sadygov (no relation) told the independent regional news website Kavkazsky Uzel.

Azizov did not respond to CPJ's request for comment in late 2016.

Afghan Sadygov refused the offer and left the office. In the hallway of the building, he was attacked and punched by a woman who then filed a complaint against him, according to news reports citing his lawyer and family.

The journalist was charged with assault, according to the Azeri service of the U.S.-government funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. If found guilty Sadygov faces up to five years in prison.

Sadygov's mother, Ulnisa, told Kavkazsky Uzel that the accusations against her son were related to his journalism. "My son has managed this website for many years practically alone. He covered issues related to lawlessness, injustice. He was warned and requested to stop criticizing local authorities in his reports. They wanted him to write only praising articles but my son refused," she said.

Ulnisa Sadygova told Kavkazsky Uzel that police tortured the journalist but did not specify what had allegedly happened to him. She said that her requests to visit the journalist were denied. Sadygov is being held in the Kurdakhani pre-trial detention center in Baku, his lawyer told CPJ. The lawyer said that Sadygov needs medical assistance, but did not specify the reason why.

Ikram Rahimov, Hurriyet

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Defamation
Imprisoned:
November 25, 2016

An Azerbaijani court on November 25, 2016 convicted Rahimov, editor of the online news agency Realliq, of libel and sentenced him to one year in prison, according to news reports. The charge relates to a May 25, 2016, story in the opposition news website Hurriyet, where Rahimov worked at the time. The story alleged extortion by a Sumqayit city official and tax evasion at a local chain of stores, reports said.

In the report Rahimov referred to a document that he said came from the state tax agency, and quoted an individual named Rahman Novruzov, who he said had informed him of the alleged wrongdoing. Novruzov was also sentenced to a year in prison for libel, according to reports.

In the article, Rahimov alleged that the head of the city administration, Zakir Farajev, instructed the stores to be closed, and allowed them to open only after receiving a bribe. Among the defense witnesses was a head of the chain who sustained the accusations of extortion, according to media reports.

When asked for comment by the news website Contact, the city administration denied Farajev was connected to the case and said that Farajev called the accusation "total nonsense."

The website Hurriyet is no longer active. A message on its home page says the site has been suspended.

Rahimov's lawyer, Elchin Sadygov, told CPJ that after the court hearing, the journalist wassent to the Sumqayit police department instead of to a prison, which is a violation of procedure. Sadygov said that the journalist was kept in the facility, which is meant for pre-trial detention, for three days and was tortured by police to extract an apology to Farajev. Police put a plastic bag over Rahimov's head and beat him, the lawyer said. Sadygov said Rahimov was left needing medical help.

In a letter given to his lawyer during a prison visit November 29, Rahimov gave a detailed account of how he was tortured for three days, according to news reports. According to local media, the Interior Ministry denied the allegations of torture. Ministry spokesman Orkhan Mansurzada described the claims as "unfounded."

On November 29, 2016, Rahimov was transferred to a prison in Shuvelan, about 70 kilometers from Sumqayit.

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Bahrain: 7

Abduljalil Alsingace, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
March 17, 2011

Alsingace, a blogger and human rights defender, was among a number of high-profile government critics arrested as the government renewed its crackdown on dissent after pro-reform protests in February 2011.

In June 2011, a military court sentenced Alsingace to life imprisonment for "plotting to topple the monarchy." In all, 21 bloggers, human rights activists, and members of the political opposition were found guilty on similar charges and handed lengthy sentences.

On his blog, Al-Faseela (Sapling), Alsingace wrote critically about human rights violations, sectarian discrimination, and repression of the political opposition. He also monitored human rights for the Shia-dominated opposition Haq Movement for Civil Liberties and Democracy. He was first arrested on anti-state conspiracy charges in August 2010 as part of widespread reprisals against political dissidents, but was released in February 2011 as part of a government effort to appease a then-nascent protest movement.

In September 2012, the High Court of Appeal upheld Alsingace's conviction and life sentence, along with those of his co-defendants. Four months later, on January 7, 2013, the Court of Cassation, the highest court in the country, also upheld the sentences.

In 2015, Alsingace began refusing all solid food to protest the conditions at Jaw Central Prison, where he is being held. He ended his protest on January 28, 2016 after refusing solid food for 313 days, according to Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain.

In November 2015, Alsingace was temporarily released to allow him to attend his mother's funeral.

A family member, who asked for anonymity for fear of retribution, told CPJ in October 2016 that Alsingace was not receiving adequate medical care, including for injuries suffered during torture. According to findings by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, Alsingace was "sexually molested with a finger thrust into his anus" and repeatedly beaten with fists and batons. One officer placed a pistol in his mouth and said, "I wish I could empty it in your head." Security forces threatened to rape his daughter, the inquiry found. The commission was established by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in June 2011 to investigate the 2011 protest movement and subsequent crackdown, including allegations of abuse of prisoners, including Alsingace. Its findings and recommendations, based on interviews with inmates, officials, witnesses, and human rights defenders, were officially endorsed by King Hamad in November 2011.

Ahmed Humaidan, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
December 29, 2012

Humaidan, a freelance photojournalist, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on March 26, 2014, in a trial of more than 30 individuals charged with participating in a 2012 attack on a police station on the island of Sitra, according to news reports. The reports said three defendants were acquitted, and the rest were given three to 10 years in prison.

Humaidan was at the station to document the attack as part of his coverage of unrest in the country after anti-government protests erupted in February 2011, according to news reports. His photographs were published by local opposition sites, including the online newsmagazine Alhadath and the news website Alrasid.

Adel Marzouk, head of the Bahrain Press Association, an independent media freedom organization based in London, told CPJ that Humaidan's photographs had exposed police attacks on protesters during demonstrations. Humaidan's family said authorities had sought his arrest for months and had raided their home five times to try to arrest him, news reports said.

The High Court of Appeals upheld Humaidan's sentence on August 31, 2014, despite calls by CPJ and other human rights organizations to throw out the conviction.

In 2014, the U.S. National Press Club honored Humaidan with its John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award.

Humaidan is being held in Jaw Central Prison.

Hussein Hubail, Freelance

Medium:
Internet, Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 31, 2013

Hubail, a photographer who documented opposition protests, was sentenced to five years in prison on April 28, 2014, on charges of inciting protests against public order, according to news reports. Eight other individuals were sentenced in the same trial, including online activist Jassim al-Nuaimi and artist Sadiq al-Shabani, the reports said.

In January 2016, Hubail was informed that he had been sentenced to an additional year imprisonment on a charge of participating in an illegal gathering, the Bahrain Press Association reported.

Hubail was arrested at Bahrain International Airport and held incommunicado for six days before being transferred to Dry Dock prison on August 5, 2013, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights reported.

The arrest came amid political tension in Bahrain over an opposition protest planned for August 14, 2013, modeled on the demonstrations that led to the ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. Bahrain King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa decreed new measures to crack down on protesters who the government believed were engaging in terrorist activities.

On August 7, 2013, Hubail was questioned by the public prosecutor, who accused him of incitement against the regime and calling for illegal gatherings. Hubail's lawyer, Ali al-Asfoor, said in a series of Twitter posts that investigators had questioned Hubail about his photography and purported posts on social media that had called for the protests on August 14.

Hubail's work has been published by Agence France-Presse and other news outlets. In May 2013, the independent newspaper Al-Wasat awarded him a photography prize for his picture of protesters enshrouded in tear gas.

Hubail said he was tortured in custody by the Criminal Investigation Department, according to the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. The center said Hubail told of being beaten, kicked, forced to stand for long periods of time, and deprived of sleep. The Bahraini Information Affairs Authority told CPJ on August 28, 2013, that the government was investigating the torture claims. CPJ sent a written request for comment in October 2016 to the Information Affairs Authority asking about the outcome of the investigation. As of late 2016, it had not received a response.

The High Court of Appeals upheld Hubail's five-year sentence on September 21, 2014, according to news reports.

In April 2015, someone familiar with Hubail's situation, who asked not to be named for fear of retribution, told CPJ that the photographer's health had deteriorated and he had been denied adequate medical care for a heart condition. The journalist is being held in Jaw Central Prison. His health had improved in 2016.

Sayed Ahmed al-Mosawi, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
February 10, 2014

Al-Mosawi was detained on February 10, 2014, during a raid by authorities to arrest his brother, Mohammed, according to news reports. Security forces spotted al-Mosawi's camera in the apartment and asked who it belonged to, someone who spoke with al-Mosawi after his arrest and who asked not to be named for fear of retribution, told CPJ. After conferring over the radio, security forces arrested al-Mosawi as well. The freelance photographer was transferred to Dry Dock jail after being questioned about his work.

Al-Mosawi's internationally recognized photographs, most of which he posted on social networking sites, have won several awards. His work includes a range of subjects such as wildlife and daily life in Bahrain in addition to anti-government protests, a frequent occurrence in Bahrain since the government cracked down on large-scale demonstrations in 2011.

The journalist told his family in a phone call from prison in 2014 that he had been beaten and given electric shocks, according to the Bahrain Center for Human Rights.

On November 23, 2015, al-Mosawi, his brother, and 11 other defendants were found guilty of participating in a terror organization that committed acts of violence against police forces, according to court documents reviewed by CPJ in 2016. The court sentenced al-Mosawi to 10 years' imprisonment and revoked his citizenship.

According to the prosecution, al-Mosawi and other employees at VIVA, a cell phone provider where he also worked, helped other defendants illegally procure SIM cards under false identities for terror purposes.

According to the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, the government has frequently abused an overly broad definition of terrorism as a tool to suppress dissent and independent reporting. Since 2012, Bahrain has revoked the citizenship of more than 130 Bahrainis, including journalists, human rights defenders, and accused terrorists, according to local human rights groups.

On June 13, 2016, the public prosecutor announced that an appeals court had upheld al-Mosawi's sentence.

Al-Mosawi is being held in Jaw Central Prison.

Mahmoud al-Jaziri, Al-Wasat

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
December 28, 2015

Police arrested Mahmoud al-Jaziri from his home in Nabih Saleh Island, south of the capital Manama, on the morning of December 28, 2015. He was allowed to call his brother later that day to say he was being held as part of a criminal investigation, local human rights groups and his paper Al-Wasat reported.

The Interior Ministry named al-Jaziri, a reporter for the independent daily Al-Wasat, as among those arrested for allegedly plotting terrorist attacks funded by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah, according to a January 1, 2016 report by the official Bahrain News Agency. That announcement came amid a diplomatic rift between Iran and Saudi Arabia and its allies, including Bahrain, after Saudi Arabia executed prominent Shiite cleric Nimr Al-Nimr. It also followed years of official persecution--including the 2011 death in custody of a founding investor--of Al-Wasat staff.

On January 4, 2016, two days after al-Nimr's execution, al-Jaziri was referred to a special prosecutor for terrorist crimes who charged him with supporting terrorism, inciting hatred of the regime, having contacts with a foreign country, and seeking to overthrow the regime by joining the banned political group, the Al-Wafaa Islamic Party, and the February 14 Youth Movement, which have organized anti-government protests since the 2011 uprising, according to news reports. The Interior Ministry statement carried by Bahrain News Agency listed al-Jaziri and three other co-accused as members of an armed wing of Al-Wafaa that was plotting bombings in cooperation with Iran's Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah.

Mansoor al-Jamri, editor-in-chief of Al-Wasat and CPJ's 2011 International Press Freedom Awardee, told CPJ that al-Jaziri denied the charges and told prosecutors his relationship with Al-Wafaa did not extend beyond proofreading the group's public statements, an activity he stopped after becoming a professional journalist in 2012. Al-Jamri said al-Jaziri covers parliamentary news for Al-Wasat.

Al-Jaziri was arrested on the same day that a report he had written was published on a member of parliament's proposal to deny housing to Bahrainis whose citizenship had been revoked for political activities.

Over the course of 2013-14, he wrote a series of opinion articles for Al-Wasat in which he blamed world and regional powers for what he called the "failures" of the 2011 uprisings collectively known as the "Arab Spring," criticized the lack of compromise in the region's conflicts, and called for closer relationships between predominantly Sunni and Shiite countries in the region.

According to the Bahrain Press Association, al-Jaziri's family said he was blindfolded for an unspecified number of days after his arrest. The family said he was banned from sitting or sleeping for three days during questioning and before he signed a confession, unaware of its content.

On June 28, 2016, the public prosecutor announced the commencement of a trial of 18 suspects, including al-Jaziri and another journalist, Ali Mearaj. The defendants are accused of belonging to an Iranian and Hezbollah-backed terror cell formed by the banned al-Wafaa party.

As of late 2016, Al-Jaziri was held in Dry Dock jail pending the outcome of his trial.

Ali Mearaj, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
June 5, 2016

Bahraini security forces arrested Mearaj on June 5, 2016 at the Manama airport, only two months after he was released from prison where he had been serving a sentence on separate charges also related to his journalism, his brother Mohammed told CPJ.

On June 28, 2016, Mearaj's trial began with 17 other defendants, including Al-Wasat journalist Mahmoud al-Jaziri, on charges of belonging to an Iranian and Hezbollah-backed terror cell formed by the banned al-Wafaa political party.

The Bahraini Interior Ministry named al-Jaziri, a reporter for the independent daily Al-Wasat, as among those arrested for allegedly plotting terrorist attacks funded by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah, according to a January 1, 2016 report by the official Bahrain News Agency (BNA).

On January 4, al-Jaziri was referred to a special prosecutor for terrorist crimes, who charged him with supporting terrorism, inciting hatred of the regime, contacting a foreign country and giving it information, and seeking to overthrow the regime by joining Al-Wafaa and the February 14 Youth Movement, which has organized protests since the 2011 uprising, according to news reports.

During this time, Mearaj was in prison in relation to a different case, and his name was not mentioned in any of the public announcements concerning the case. According to his brother Mohammed, Mearaj was not questioned after his new arrest or informed of charges against him before the June 28, 2016 hearing.

Before the new charge, Mearaj had been serving a two and a half year term on charges of "insulting the king" and "misusing communication devices" in relation to posts he was accused of writing on the opposition website Lulu Awal, according to news reports.

Mearaj's appeal in that case was repeatedly postponed as the government claimed a witness failed to appear in court, according to his brother Mohammed. On April 5, 2016, the appeals court reduced his sentence to one and a half years in jail, the Bahrain Press Association reported. Having already served two years while waiting for his appeal, he was released on April 7.

Mearaj is currently held in Dry Dock jail pending the outcome of his trial. By late 2016, the government had not publicly disclosed information or details of evidence as to why he had been added to the case.

Faisal Hayyat, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Ethnic or religious insult
Imprisoned:
October 9, 2016

Hayyat was arrested on October 9, 2016, after receiving a call to report to the interior ministry, according to Al-Wasat and a post on Hayyat's Twitter account.

On the day of Hayyat's arrest, the state-run Bahrain News Agency reported that the Ministry of Interior had ordered the arrest of a man for defamatory statements about a religious sect in Bahrain. The agency, which did not the name the person arrested, reported that he was referred to the public prosecutor under article 309 of the penal code, which outlaws speech that ridicules a recognized religious sect under penalty of up to a year in prison or a fine not exceeding 100 dinar (approximately US$265).

The arrest came after Hayyat published a series of tweets during the observance of Ashura, when Shia Muslims mourn the death of Hussein in battle against the Sunni Muslim Caliph Yazid Ibn Muawiya in 680 AD. The observance is often a tense time in Bahrain, where a Sunni monarchy rules over a majority Shia population.

In the tweets on October 7, 2016, Hayyat called on God to curse Yazid and leaders of his army who fought against Hussein. In one tweet, he wrote, "If today we've come to disagreement over the crimes of Yazid, then tomorrow we'll disagree about Satan and it will be criminalized to curse him too."

A criminal court sentenced Hayyat to three months in prison on November 29, 2016, according to news reports.

Four prominent Bahraini human rights groups pointed to a different reason for Hayyat's arrest however. On October 1, 2016, Hayyat posted on his Facebook page a widely shared public letter to the Minister of Interior over his arrest and torture in 2011. In the letter, he writes "Every day I witness dignity and humanity crushed in your prisons." He continues, "I write this letter knowing that it could make me lose my freedom and my story may once again be the story of a detainee, but my faith in the judgment and power of God is greater than my fear."

The letter refers to Hayyat's April 2011 arrest after Bahraini state television identified him as one of the "traitors" participating in a protest for greater press freedom. He was held for nearly three months. After his release, he claimed he was repeatedly beaten by officers, including while tied in the "shrimp" position with his hands and feet hogtied behind his back as he lay on his stomach. Hayyat accused one officer of pulling down his pants in the courtyard of the police station, while onlookers watched as Hayyat pleaded to not be raped. Hayyat said the officer pulled up Hayyat's pants, made Hayyat face the wall, and began to grope him while pressing his body into Hayyat's backside.

CPJ considers article 309 of Bahrain's penal code, like many other provisions criminalizing speech in the country, overly broad and ambiguous, allowing the government to arbitrarily apply the law to silence critical and independent voices.

Before his 2011 arrest, Hayyat worked as a sports commentator. He more recently produced videos on YouTube on social issues and current affairs. In August 2016, he created the SnapHayyat YouTube channel, where he posts Snapchat-style videos of his commentary on politics and current affairs.

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Bangladesh: 2

Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, Weekly Blitz

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
January 9, 2014

A Dhaka court sentenced Choudhury, an editor of the Bangladeshi tabloid Weekly Blitz, to seven years in prison in relation to his articles about the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Bangladesh.

Choudhury was convicted of harming the country's interests under section 505(A) of the penal code, having been found to have intentionally written distorting and damaging materials, reports said. Choudhury had written about anti-Israeli attitudes in Muslim countries and the spread of Islamist militancy in Bangladesh.

The prosecutor in the case, Shah Alam Talukder, told Agence France-Presse that Choudhury was taken to prison after the verdict. The editor's family said that an appeal of the decision to the High Court is pending, news reports said. No details about his state of health, or where he is being held, had been disclosed as of late 2016.

Choudhury was arrested in November 2003 when he tried to travel to Israel to participate in a conference with the Hebrew Writers Association. Bangladesh has no diplomatic relations with Israel, and it is illegal for Bangladeshi citizens to travel there. Choudhury was released on bail in 2005.

He was charged with passport violations, but the charges were dropped in February 2004 and he was accused of sedition, among other charges, in connection with his articles, according to news reports. The editor was not convicted on the sedition charge, the reports said. He was arrested again in 2012 in connection with embezzlement charges, and the current charges relating to his writing were filed. In Bangladesh, judicial proceedings can take years to resolve. In February 2015, Choudhury was sentenced to four years in prison on the embezzlement charges, according to news reports.

Abdus Salam, Ekushey TV

Medium:
Television
Charge:
Anti-State, Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
January 6, 2015

Salam, the owner of Ekushey TV, was accused of sedition and being in violation of Bangladesh's Pornography Act, according to reports. Some journalists said in news reports and to CPJ that the arrests were related to a speech by Tarique Rahman, the son of opposition leader Khaleda Zia, which was broadcast by the channel on January 5, 2015.

Salam was arrested at Ekushey TV's offices in Dhaka on January 6, 2015, alongside Kanak Sarwar, a former senior correspondent for the privately owned broadcaster, according to local news reports. At a press conference in Dhaka after Salam's arrest, Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu said police had charged the chairman of the channel under the Pornography Control Act of 2012. Police said a woman filed a complaint in November 2014 saying she had been vilified in a news program, according to reports. The police said Ekushey TV, which covers local and national news, aired pornographic images of the woman, news reports said. The channel denies the accusations, reports said.

Salam was also charged with sedition, according to news reports. Authorities claim he confessed to being guilty of sedition in a statement before a judge on January 19, 2015, news reports said.

In March 2015, Sarwar was arrested under the Pornography Act after Salam was said to have confessed to charges brought against him, reports said. According to news reports, Sarwar, who was fired from Ekushey TV in the days after the speech was aired, was later released on bail. In September 2016, authorities issued a warrant for the arrest of another former Ekushey TV correspondent, Mahathir Faruqui Khan, in relation to the broadcasting of Rahman's speech. Khan had not been arrested as of late 2016, according to news reports.

In the speech aired by Ekushey TV on January 5, 2015 Rahman, the senior vice chairman of opposition leader Zia's party, called for the toppling of the Sheikh Hasina-led government, reports said. Rahman, who has been in exile since 2008 and faces corruption charges in Bangladesh, is a fierce critic of Hasina's father, the founder of the country.

Ekushey TV was unavailable in some parts of the country after the airing of Rahman's speech, according to local and international news reports. Cable operators said they were instructed to take Ekushey TV off the air, according to Agence France-Presse. Authorities denied issuing any order, reports said.

Zia, who had been confined to her office earlier in the year after calling on her supporters to topple the Hasina-led government, accused the government of interrupting Ekushey TV broadcasts.

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Cameroon: 1

Ahmed Abba, Radio France Internationale

Medium:
Radio
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 30, 2015

Ahmed Abba, a correspondent for Radio France Internationale's (RFI) Hausa service, was arrested as he left a press briefing at the office of a local governor in Maroua, the capital of Cameroon's far north region, on July 30, 2015 according to RFI. He was taken to the capital, Yaoundé. The journalist was denied access to his lawyer until October 19, RFI told CPJ. Officials did not take a statement from Abba until November 13, more than three months after his arrest, which is against the law, according to news reports that cited his lawyers.

RFI cited one of the journalist's lawyers, Charles Tchoungang, as saying Abba was interrogated in relation to the activities of the extremist sect Boko Haram, which has renamed itself the Islamic State in West Africa. Formed in 2002, Boko Haram, which is based in northern Nigeria, has been increasing its presence in northern Cameroon since 2014, according to news reports. The group is known for mass kidnappings and targeted attacks on civilians.

Abba's trial began on February 29, 2016, according to reports that cited Tchoungang and a second lawyer, Nakong Clement. A military tribunal charged the journalist with complicity in acts of terrorism and failure to denounce acts of terrorism under the country's 2014 anti-terrorism law, news reports said. According to prosecutors, Abba did not inform authorities he had been in contact with members of Boko Haram. The maximum sentence for the charges is the death penalty.

Abba pleaded not guilty at a hearing on August 3, 2016, reports said. The next hearing was scheduled for December 7, 2016, according to news reports.

RFI reported that Abba mostly covered refugee issues in the region but had also covered attacks carried out by Boko Haram. In a statement issued in June 2016, RFI said Abba's reporting had been professional and called for his immediate release.

^ Show all country summaries

China: 38

Yang Tongyan (Yang Tianshui), Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
December 23, 2005

Yang, known by his pen name Yang Tianshui, was detained along with a friend in Nanjing, eastern China. He was tried on charges of subverting state power and, on May 17, 2006, the Zhenjiang Intermediate People's Court sentenced him to 12 years in prison.

Yang was a well-known writer and member of the Independent Chinese PEN Center. He was a frequent contributor to U.S.-based websites banned in China, including Boxun News and Epoch Times. He often wrote critically about the ruling Communist Party and advocated the release of jailed internet writers.

According to the verdict in Yang's case, which was translated into English by the U.S.-based prisoner advocacy group Dui Hua Foundation, the harsh sentence was over a fictitious online election, established by overseas Chinese citizens, for a "democratic Chinese transitional government." His colleagues said he was elected to the leadership of the fictional government without his prior knowledge. He later wrote an article in Epoch Times in support of the model.

Prosecutors also accused Yang of transferring money from overseas to Wang Wenjiang, a Chinese dissident jailed for endangering state security. Yang's defense lawyer argued that this money was humanitarian assistance to Wang's family and should not have constituted a criminal act.

Believing that the proceedings were fundamentally unjust, Yang did not appeal. He had already spent 10 years in prison for his opposition to the military crackdown on demonstrators at Tiananmen Square in 1989.

In June 2008, Shandong provincial authorities refused to renew the law license of Yang's lawyer, press freedom advocate Li Jianqiang. In 2008, the PEN American Center announced that Yang had received the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award.

Yang's health deteriorated in 2015. He has pleural tuberculosis, nephritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other conditions, according to Radio France Internationale. Because Yang maintains he is innocent, his medical parole applications have been rejected. To demand his right to proper medical care, Yang has staged hunger strikes, according to Radio France Internationale.

Yang is being held in Nanjing No. 1 Prison in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, according to Radio Free Asia. In late 2016, Hua Chunhui, a democracy activist who has spoken with a friend of the columnist, told CPJ that Yang's health problems persist.

Qi Chonghuai, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
June 25, 2007

Tengzhou police arrested Qi and charged him with fraud and extortion. He was sentenced initially to four years in prison on May 13, 2008, but new charges and a longer sentence was added the year he was due to be released. The arrest occurred about a week after police detained Qi's colleague, Ma Shiping, a freelance photographer, on charges of carrying a false press card.

Qi, a journalist for 13 years, and Ma had criticized a local official in Shandong province in an article published June 8, 2007, on the website of the U.S.-based Epoch Times, according to Qi's lawyer, Li Xiongbing. On June 14, 2007, the two posted photographs on the Xinhua news agency's anti-corruption Web forum that showed a luxurious government building in the city of Tengzhou. Ma was sentenced in 2007 to one and a half years in prison. He was released in 2009, according to Qi's wife, Jiao Xia.

Qi was accused of taking money from local officials while reporting several stories, a charge he denied. The people from whom he was accused of extorting money were local officials threatened by his reporting, Li said. Qi told his lawyer and Jiao that police beat him during questioning on August 13, 2007, and again during a break in his trial.

Qi was due to be released in 2011, but in May of that year local authorities told him the court had received new evidence against him. On June 9, 2011, less than three weeks before the end of his term, a Shandong provincial court sentenced him to an additional eight years in prison, according to the New York-based advocacy group Human Rights in China and Radio Free Asia.

Human Rights in China, citing an online article by defense lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan, said the court tried Qi on a new count of stealing advertising revenue from China Security Produce News, a former employer. The journalist's supporters speculated that the charge was in reprisal for Qi's statements to his jailers that he would continue reporting after his release, according to The New York Times.

Qi was being held in Tengzhou Prison, a four-hour trip from his family's home, which limits visits. Jiao told journalists in 2012 that her husband offered her a divorce, but she declined. Jiao also said that Qi had told her that he had been tortured in prison. He said some of his teeth were knocked out when he was beaten by prison officials, and he has been forced to mine coal. Qi also suffered from arthritis, according to a transcript of Jiao's full account.

Ekberjan Jamal, Freelance

Medium:
Internet, Radio
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
February 28, 2008

On two occasions in November 2007, Ekberjan used his cell phone to record sounds of riots in his home town of Turpan. The audio files, which included the noise of rioters, sirens, and a voice-over of Ekberjan describing what was happening, were sent to friends in the Netherlands, and later used in news reports by Radio Free Asia and Phoenix News in Hong Kong. Ekberjan posted links to the news reports on his blog, which was closed by authorities on December 25, 2007, according to the rights group World Uyghur Congress.

In an April 2009 Radio Free Asia report, Ekberjan's mother said he made the recordings on two occasions, but at his trial he faced 21 counts of sending information abroad. She told Radio Free Asia she believed he might have been motivated to send the files to help achieve his ambition of studying abroad. The Turpan Intermediate People's Court sentenced him to 10 years in prison on February 28, 2008 for "separatism" and revealing state secrets, crimes under articles 103 and 11 of the Chinese penal code.

As of April 2009, he was being held in the Xinjiang Number 4 prison in Urumqi, Radio Free Asia reported.

Uighur rights groups contacted by CPJ in late 2016 said they had no new information in his case.

Liu Xiaobo, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
December 8, 2008

Liu, a longtime advocate of political reform and the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was imprisoned on charges of inciting subversion through his writing. Liu was an author of Charter 08, a document promoting universal values, human rights, and democratic reform in China, and was among its 300 original signatories. He was detained in Beijing shortly before the charter was officially released, according to international news reports.

Liu was charged with subversion in June 2009 and was tried in the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate Court in December of that year. Diplomats from the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Sweden were denied access to the trial, the BBC reported. On December 25, 2009, the court convicted Liu of inciting subversion and sentenced him to 11 years in prison and two years' deprivation of political rights.

The verdict cited several articles Liu had posted on overseas websites, including the BBC's Chinese-language site and the U.S.-based websites Epoch Times and Observe China, all of which had criticized Communist Party rule. Six articles were named, including pieces headlined, "So the Chinese people only deserve 'one-party participatory democracy?'" and "Changing the regime by changing society," as evidence that Liu had incited subversion. Liu's income was generated by his writing, his wife told the court.

The court verdict cited Liu's authorship and distribution of Charter 08 as further evidence of subversion. The Beijing Municipal High People's Court upheld the verdict in February 2010.

In October 2010, the Nobel Prize committee awarded Liu its 2010 peace prize "for his long and nonviolent struggle for fundamental human rights in China."

Liu's wife, Liu Xia, has been under house arrest in her Beijing apartment since shortly after her husband's detention. In March 2013, unidentified assailants beat two Hong Kong journalists when they filmed an activist's attempt to visit her at home. In February 2014, Liu Xia spent a brief period in a hospital for heart problems, depression, and other medical conditions. Wu Yangwei, a dissident who writes under the name Ye Du, told CPJ in late 2016 that police have prohibited him and other dissident intellectuals from seeing her.

Hu Jia, a democracy activist and friend of Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia, told CPJ that in 2016 police have allowed Liu Xiaobo's wife to visit him once a month and on his birthday.

In June 2013, Liu's brother-in-law, Liu Hui, a manager of a property company, was convicted of fraud in what the journalist's family said was reprisal for Liu Xiaobo's journalistic work. The conviction stemmed from a real-estate dispute that Liu Hui's lawyers said had already been settled. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison, news reports said. A court rejected his appeal in August 2013. Liu Hui was released on medical parole later that year, Hu Jia told CPJ. The police threatened Liu Xia, saying that if she spoke with the foreign media they would put her brother back in jail, according to Hu Jia.

Liu Xiaobo was being held in Jinzhou Prison in northeastern China's Liaoning province, according to news reports. Hu Jia, citing Liu Xia, told CPJ that the journalist has no health issues.

Kunchok Tsephel Gopey Tsang, Chomei

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
February 26, 2009

Public security officials arrested the online writer Tsang in Gannan, a Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in the south of Gansu province, according to Tibetan rights groups. Tsang ran the Tibetan cultural issues website Chomei, according to the India-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy. Kate Saunders, U.K. communications director for the International Campaign for Tibet, told CPJ that she learned of his arrest from two sources.

The detention appeared to be part of a wave of arrests of writers and intellectuals in advance of the 50th anniversary of the March 1959 uprising preceding the Dalai Lama's departure from Tibet. The 2008 anniversary had provoked ethnic rioting in Tibetan areas, and international reporters were barred from the region.

In November 2009, a Gannan court sentenced Tsang to 15 years in prison for disclosing state secrets, according to The Associated Press.

Tsang's family is allowed to visit him in prison every two months, and is permitted to speak with him only in Chinese via an intercom and separated by glass screen. Not being allowed to converse in Tibetan is difficult for many of his family members, PEN International said.

Tsang is currently held at Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture Cooperation Prison, according to the Hong Kong-based group Chinese Human Rights Defenders.

Memetjan Abdulla, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 2009

Abdulla, editor of the state-run China National Radio Uighur service, was detained in July 2009 and accused of instigating ethnic rioting in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region through postings on the Uighur-language website Salkin, which he managed in his spare time, according to international news reports. A court in the regional capital, Urumqi, sentenced him to life imprisonment on April 1, 2010, the reports said. The exact charges against Abdulla were not disclosed.

The U.S. government-funded Radio Free Asia reported on the sentence in December 2010, citing an unnamed witness at the trial. Abdulla was targeted for talking to international journalists in Beijing about the riots and for translating articles on the Salkin website, Radio Free Asia reported. The World Uyghur Congress, a rights group based in Germany, confirmed the sentence with contacts in the region, according to The New York Times.

Abdulla is in an unspecified prison in Xinjiang, according to the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China, which monitors human rights and law in China. CPJ could not determine the state of his health in late 2016.

Niyaz Kahar, Golden Tarim

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 2009

Kahar, a reporter and blogger, disappeared during ethnic rioting in Urumqi in July 2009. His family announced in February 2014 that he had been convicted of separatism and was being held in Shikho prison outside Shikho city in the far north of Xinjiang, according to the Uighur service of the U.S.-funded Radio Free Asia.

Kahar worked as a local reporter before launching the Uighur-language website Golden Tarim, which featured articles on Uighur history, culture, politics, and social life.

With the unrest surrounding the riots, it is difficult to determine the exact date of his arrest or where he was initially held. His family had questioned police and government authorities after his disappearance, but received no information, and assumed he had been killed until they were informed of his conviction in 2010, Radio Free Asia reported.

The family was told that Kahar was sentenced to 13 years in prison during a closed court session in Xinjiang's capital, Urumqi, though they did not know the date of the trial. Kahar's sister Nurgul told Radio Free Asia that during their search for Kahar, the family was told by court officials in Urumqi that he "published illegal news and propagated ideas of ethnic separatism on his website. He was charged with the crime of splitting the nation."

According to a September 2015 report by Radio Free Asia, Kahar's health is failing. His family is allowed only a 15-minute visit with the journalist every four months. "He is losing his courage year by year," Radio Free Asia cited his mother as saying. CPJ was unable to determine the details of his poor health or any updates to his status in late 2016.

Thousands of Uighurs remain unaccounted for in Xinjiang. Many were detained during the 2009 crackdown or other security sweeps by Chinese authorities.

Gulmire Imin, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 14, 2009

Imin was one of several administrators of Uighur-language Web forums who were arrested after the July 2009 riots in Urumqi, in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. In August 2010, Imin was sentenced to life in prison on charges of separatism, leaking state secrets, and organizing an illegal demonstration, a witness to her trial told the U.S. government-funded broadcaster Radio Free Asia.

Imin held a local government post in Urumqi. She contributed poetry and short stories to the cultural website Salkin and had been invited to moderate the site in late spring 2009, her husband, Behtiyar Omer, told CPJ. Omer confirmed the date of his wife's initial detention in a statement at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy in 2011.

Authorities accused Imin of being an organizer of demonstrations on July 5, 2009, and of using the Uighur-language website to distribute information about the event, Radio Free Asia reported. Imin had been critical of the government in her online writing, readers of the website told Radio Free Asia. The website was shut down after the riots and its contents were deleted.

Imin was also accused of leaking state secrets by phone to her husband, who lives in Norway. Her husband told CPJ that he called her on July 5, 2009, but only to check whether she was safe.

The riots, which began as a protest over the death of Uighur migrant workers in Guangdong province, turned violent and resulted in the deaths of 200 people, according to the official Chinese government count. Chinese authorities blocked access to the internet in Xinjiang for months after the riots, and hundreds of protesters were arrested, according to international human rights organizations and local and international media reports.

Imin was being held in the Xinjiang women's prison (Xinjiang No. 2 Prison) in Urumqi, according to the rights group World Uyghur Congress. CPJ could not determine the status of her health in late 2016.

Gheyrat Niyaz (Hailaite Niyazi), Uighurbiz

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
October 1, 2009

Security officials arrested Niyaz, a website manager who is sometimes referred to as Hailaite Niyazi, in his home in the regional capital, Urumqi, according to international news reports. He was convicted of endangering state security and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

According to reports, Niyaz was punished because of an August 2, 2009, interview with Yazhou Zhoukan (Asia Weekly), a Chinese-language magazine based in Hong Kong. In the interview, Niyaz said authorities had not taken steps to prevent violence before ethnic unrest in July 2009 in China's far-western Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.

Niyaz, who once worked for the state newspapers Xinjiang Legal News and Xinjiang Economic Daily, managed and edited the website Uighurbiz until June 2009. A statement posted on the website quoted Niyaz's wife as saying that although he had given interviews to international media, he had no malicious intentions.

Authorities blamed local and international Uighur sites for fueling the violence between Uighurs and Han Chinese in the predominantly Muslim Xinjiang region.

According to the Hong Kong-based group Chinese Human Right Defenders, as of late 2016 Niyaz was being held in Changji prison in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. CPJ was unable to determine the state of his health or the conditions under which he is being held.

Liu Xianbin, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
June 28, 2010

A court in western Sichuan province sentenced Liu to 10 years in prison on charges of inciting subversion through articles published on overseas websites between April 2009 and February 2010, according to international news reports. One article was titled "Constitutional Democracy for China: Escaping Eastern Autocracy," according to the BBC.

Liu also signed Liu Xiaobo's pro-democracy Charter 08 petition. (Liu Xiaobo, who won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for his actions, is serving an 11-year term on the same charge.)

Police detained Liu Xianbin on June 28, 2010, according to the U.S.-based prisoner rights group Laogai Research Foundation. He was sentenced in 2011 during a crackdown on bloggers and activists who sought to organize demonstrations inspired by uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, according to CPJ research.

Liu spent more than two years in prison for involvement in the 1989 anti-government protests in Tiananmen Square. He later served 10 years of a 13-year sentence handed down in 1999 after he founded a branch of the China Democracy Party, according to The New York Times.

Liu is being held at Chuanzhong prison in Sichuan province, according to China Change, a website tracking human rights in the country. His friend and fellow writer, Zhao Hui, told CPJ in late 2016 that Liu is in good health.

Li Tie, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
September 15, 2010

Police in Wuhan, Hubei province, detained Li, a 52-year-old freelancer, in September 2010, according to international news reports. The Wuhan Intermediate People's Court tried him behind closed doors on April 18, 2011, but did not announce the verdict until January 18, 2012, when he was handed a 10-year prison term and three additional years' political deprivation, according to news reports citing his lawyer. Only Li's mother and daughter were allowed to attend the trial, news reports said.

The court cited 13 of Li's online articles to support the charge of subversion of state power, a more serious count than inciting subversion, which is a common criminal charge used against jailed journalists in China, according to CPJ research. Evidence in the trial cited articles including one headlined "Human beings' heaven is human dignity," in which Li urged respect for ordinary citizens and called for democracy and political reform, according to international news reports. Prosecutors argued that the articles proved Li had "anti-government thoughts" that would ultimately lead to "anti-government actions," according to the Hong Kong-based Chinese Human Rights Defenders.

Jian Guanghong, a lawyer hired by his family, was detained before the trial and a government-appointed lawyer represented Li instead, according to the group. Prosecutors also cited Li's membership in a small opposition group, the China Social Democracy Party, the group reported.

Li is in Edong prison in Huanggang, Hubei province, according to Boxun News. He was not allowed to communicate with people outside of the prison through phone calls or letters. Li has high blood pressure, according to Chinese Human Rights Defenders.

CPJ's calls to a relative of Li for updates on his case and health went unanswered in late 2016.

Jin Andi, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
September 19, 2010

Beijing police detained Jin, a freelance writer, Lü Jiaping, a military scholar, and Lü's wife, Yu Junyi, on allegations of inciting subversion in 13 online articles they wrote and distributed together, according to international news reports and human rights groups.

A Beijing court sentenced Lü to 10 years in prison and Jin to eight years in prison on May 13, 2011 for subverting state power, according to the Hong Kong-based advocacy group Chinese Human Rights Defenders. Yu, 71 at the time, was given a suspended three-year sentence and kept under residential surveillance, which was lifted in February 2012, according to the group and the English-language, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, and the U.S. government-funded Voice of America. Lü, who was in his 70s when arrested, was granted medical parole in February 2015 due to his deteriorating health, according to BBC Chinese.

The court maintains that the three defendants "wrote essays of an inciting nature" and "distributed them through the mail, emails, and by posting them on individuals' Web pages. [They] subsequently were posted and viewed by others on websites such as Boxun News and New Century News," according to a 2012 translation of the appeal verdict published online by William Farris, a lawyer in Beijing. The 13 articles, which were principally written by Lü, were listed in the appeal judgment, along with dates, places of publication, and the number of times they were reposted. One 70-word paragraph was reproduced as proof of incitement to subvert the state. The paragraph said in part that the Chinese Communist Party's status as a "governing power and leadership utility has long since been smashed and subverted by the powers that hold the Party at gunpoint."

Jin is serving his sentence in Xi'an Prison in Shaanxi province, according to China Political Prisoner Concern, a human rights website based in New York. CPJ could not determine any new information in his case in late 2016.

Chen Wei, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
February 20, 2011

Police in Suining, Sichuan province, detained Chen alongside dozens of lawyers, writers, and activists who were jailed nationwide after anonymous online calls for a nonviolent "Jasmine Revolution" in China, according to international news reports. The Hong Kong-based group Chinese Human Rights Defenders reported that Chen was charged on March 28, 2011 with inciting subversion of state power.

Chen's lawyer, Zheng Jianwei, made repeated attempts to visit him but was not allowed access until September 8, 2011, according to the rights group and the U.S. government-funded broadcaster Radio Free Asia. Radio Free Asia reported that police had selected four pro-democracy articles Chen had written for overseas websites as the basis for criminal prosecution.

In December 2011, a court in Suining sentenced Chen to nine years in prison on charges of "inciting subversion of state power."

Chen has been jailed twice before. He served a year and a half in prison for participating in the Tiananmen protests in 1989. In 1992 he was sentenced to five years in prison for organizing the Chinese Freedom and Democracy Party.

He is being held in Jialin prison in Sichuan province, according to Boxun News.

Gartse Jigme, Freelance

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
January 1, 2013

Police arrested Jigme, a Tibetan author and monk, at the Rebgong Gartse monastery in the Malho prefecture of Qinghai province, according to news reports. His family was unaware of his whereabouts until a Qinghai court sentenced him to five years in prison on May 14, 2013. The charges have not been disclosed officially, but the independent Chinese PEN Center said he was accused of separatism.

The conviction was in connection with the second volume of Jigme's book, Tsenpoi Nyingtob (The Warrior's Courage), according to Voice of America and Radio Free Asia. The book contained chapters expressing Jigme's opinions on topics such as Chinese policies in Tibet, self-immolation, minority rights, and the Dalai Lama, according to news reports.

Jigme was briefly detained in 2011 in connection with the first volume of his book, according to the Hong Kong-based group Chinese Human Rights Defenders and Tibetan rights groups. He had written the book as a reflection on widespread protests in Tibetan areas in the spring of 2008, Tibetan scholar Robert Barnett told CPJ. China has jailed scores of Tibetan writers, artists, and educators for asserting Tibetan national identity and civil rights since the protests.

Authorities did not disclose any information on Jigme's health or whereabouts. According to the Independent Chinese PEN Center, he may be in prison in Xining, a city in Qinghai province. In late 2016, CPJ was unable to verify if he was in jail in Xining or determine the condition of his health.

Liu Wei'an, Freelance

Medium:
Internet, Print
Charge:
Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
June 5, 2013

The Shaoguan People's Procuratorate, a state legal body, issued a statement in June 2013 that said Liu and Hu Yazhu had been arrested in Guangdong province after confessing to accepting bribes while covering events in the northern city of Shaoguan.

Hu and Liu were sentenced to 13 years and 14 years in prison respectively in June 2014 for accepting bribes and for extortion, according to Shaoguan Daily, a government-run newspaper.

Liu, a freelance writer, and Hu, a staff reporter for the official Guangdong Communist Party newspaper Nanfang Daily, had both written articles published in 2011 in Nanfang Daily and on news websites about a dispute involving the illegal extraction of rare minerals in Shaoguan, according to news reports.

The prosecutors' statement said Hu and Liu accepted 493,000 yuan (about US$82,200) in bribes. The pair were stripped of their press cards and banned from journalism for life, according to the state-run paper China Daily.

Users on Weibo, China's microblog service, said they suspected the reporters' arrests were in retaliation for their reports that exposed problems in the government and judiciary.

Details of the journalists' whereabouts were not included in local reports about their case. CPJ could not determine the state of their health in late 2016.

Hu Yazhu, Nanfang Daily

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
June 21, 2013

The Shaoguan People's Procuratorate, a state legal body, issued a statement in June 2013 that said Hu and Liu Wei'an had been arrested in Guangdong province after confessing to accepting bribes while covering events in the northern city of Shaoguan.

Hu and Liu were sentenced to 13 years and 14 years in prison respectively in June 2014 for accepting bribes and for extortion, according to Shaoguan Daily, a government-run newspaper.

Hu, a staff reporter for the official Guangdong Communist Party newspaper Nanfang Daily, and Liu, a freelance writer, had both written articles published in 2011 in Nanfang Daily and on news websites about a dispute involving the illegal extraction of rare minerals in Shaoguan, according to news reports.

The prosecutors' statement said Hu and Liu accepted 493,000 yuan (about US$82,200) in bribes. The pair were stripped of their press cards and banned from journalism for life, according to the state-run paper China Daily.

Users on Weibo, China's microblog service, said they suspected the reporters' arrests were in retaliation for their reports that exposed problems in the government and judiciary.

Details of the journalists' whereabouts were not included in local reports about their case. CPJ could not determine the state of their health in late 2016.

Dong Rubin, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
September 12, 2013

Dong was detained in Kunming city, Yunnan province, on accusations of misstating his company's registered assets, according to statements from his lawyer. On July 23, 2014, he was sentenced by Wuhua Court in Kunming to six years and six months in prison on charges of illegal business activity and creating a disturbance, according to the Hong Kong-based group Chinese Human Rights Defenders.

Dong, who runs an internet consulting company, used the name "Bianmin" on his microblog to criticize authorities and raise concerns about local issues. He also used the microblog to campaign in 2009 for an investigation into the death of a young man in police custody. Authorities had initially said the man's death was an accident but later admitted he had been beaten to death, according to news reports. In 2013, Dong raised safety and environmental concerns about a state-owned oil refinery planned near the city of Kunming and expressed support on his microblog for a protest against the project by Kunming residents in May 2013.

Dong predicted his arrest when he wrote on his microblog, which had about 50,000 followers, that strangers had raided his office in late August and taken three computers. "What crime will they bring against me?" Dong wrote. "Prostituting, gambling, using and selling drugs, evading tax, causing trouble on purpose, fabricating rumors, running a mafia online?"

Dong's friend, Zheng Xiejian, told Reuters in September 2013, "If they want to punish you, they can always find an excuse. They could not find any wrongdoing against Dong and had to settle on this obscure charge."

Although Dong is not a professional journalist, CPJ determined that he was jailed in connection with his news-based commentary published on the internet. From August 2013, authorities detained scores of people in a stepped-up campaign to banish online commentary that, among other issues, casts the government in a critical light, according to Chinese media and human rights groups.

During his trial Dong said he was questioned for seven to eight hours at a time for more than 70 days, while chained to a chair, according to Chinese Human Rights Defenders. He is in frail condition, the Hong Kong-based group stated.

Dong is being held at Wuhua prison in Yunnan province, his friend and democracy activist, Li Huaping, told CPJ in late 2016.

Yao Wentian (Yiu Man-tin), Morning Bell Press

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
October 27, 2013

Yao Wentian, a Hong Kong publisher and honorary member of the Independent Chinese PEN Center, was placed under residential surveillance in Shenzhen, in China's southern Guangdong province, by state public security officers on October 27, 2013, on "suspicion of smuggling ordinary goods" before he was detained on November 2. Yao's son, Edmond Yao, said his father had been preparing to publish a book titled Chinese Godfather Xi Jinping by the exiled U.S.-based Chinese author Yu Jie. A previous book by Yu that Yao published, which criticized former Premier Wen Jiabao, is banned in China.

Yao was accused of falsely labeling and smuggling industrial chemicals. His family said he was delivering industrial paint to a friend in Shenzhen. At his trial, prosecutors said the cost of the industrial chemicals Yao was accused of smuggling from Hong Kong amounted to more than 1 million yuan (US$163,000), according to reports.

On May 7, 2014 during a closed-door trial at the Shenzhen Intermediate People's Court, Yao was sentenced to the maximum 10 years in prison. According to family members, he is being held in Dongguan prison in Guangdong province. Yao, who is elderly, is in poor health, the family says, because he is forced to do hard labor and is not receiving medical treatment. CPJ's email to a relative of the journalist asking for updates in late 2016 did not receive a response.

Yao started his publishing business, Morning Bell Press, in Hong Kong in the 1990s. The small business has published many books by Chinese dissident writers.

Ilham Tohti, Uighurbiz

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
January 15, 2014

Tohti, a Uighur scholar, writer, and blogger, was taken from his home by police on January 15, 2014, and the Uighurbiz website he founded, also known as UighurOnline, was closed. The site, which Tohti started in 2006, was published in Chinese and Uighur, and focused on social issues.

Tohti was charged with separatism by Urumqi police on February 20, 2014. He was accused of using his position as a lecturer at Minzu University of China to spread separatist ideas through Uighurbiz. On September 23, 2014, at the Urumqi Intermediate People's Court, Tohti was sentenced to life imprisonment. He denied the charges.

Several foreign governments and human rights organizations protested the sentence. The European Union released a statement condemning the life sentence as unjustified. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. was concerned by the sentencing and called on Chinese authorities to release him, along with seven of his students.

Tohti's appeal request was rejected at a hearing in a Xinjiang detention center on November 21, 2014 that was scheduled at such short notice that his lawyer was unable to attend.

Tohti's wife told Radio Free Asia in February 2016 that authorities allow family members to visit Tohti for only 30 minutes every three months.

Seven of his students--Perhat Halmurat, Shohret Nijat, Luo Yuwei, Mutellip Imin, Abduqeyum Ablimit, Atikem Rozi and Akbar Imin--were charged with being involved with Uighurbiz during a secret trial held in November 2014, according to Tohti's lawyer Li Fangping. Many were administrators for the site, according to state media. According to the political prisoner database of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, an organization set up by the U.S. Congress to monitor human rights and laws in China, Rozi and Mutellip Imin wrote for the site. Imin, who is from Xinjiang and enrolled at Istanbul University in Turkey, has a blog, too. He was arrested when he tried to leave China.

According to The New York Times, three of the students made televised confessions on the state-run China Central Television in September, saying they worked for the site. Halmurat claimed to have written an article, Nijat claimed to have taken part in editorial policy decisions, and Luo, from the Yi minority, claimed to have done design work.

The seven students were sentenced to three to eight years in prison, according to the Global Times, a government-affiliated website. The length of sentence for each student was unclear and details of where they are being held were not disclosed.

CPJ was unable to determine the names or contact details of the lawyers representing the students. Liu Xiaoyuan, who is also representing, Tohti, told CPJ he did not have information on the students' cases.

Tohti is being held at the Xinjiang No. 1 Prison in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, according to Radio Free Asia.

Tohti is a member of the Uyghur PEN Center and an honorary member of the Independent Chinese PEN Center and PEN America. He was awarded the 2016 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders.

Wang Jianmin, New-Way Monthly, Multiple Face

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
May 30, 2014

Wang, publisher of two Chinese-language magazines in Hong Kong--New-Way Monthly and Multiple Face--and Guo Zhongxiao, a reporter for the magazines, were detained by police in the southern city of Shenzhen on May 30, 2014, and accused of operating an illegal publication and suspicion of illegal business operations. Liu Haitao, an editorial assistant at the magazines, was detained on June 17, 2014, on the same accusations.

According to a Hong Kong media report, Wang's wife was also placed under criminal detention on May 30, 2014, and her house was raided the same day. She was held overnight and released on bail. In April 2015, Wang's wife published an open letter on the overseas Chinese-language website Boxun calling for the release of her husband.

Oiwan Lam, founder of Inmedia, an independent media outlet promoting free speech, told CPJ that Wang and Guo were known as politically well-connected journalists who frequently reported insider information and speculation on political affairs in China. In an editorial, the Hong Kong- and Taiwan-based newspaper Apple Daily described Wang's magazines as being "close" to the political factions of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin and former Vice President Zeng Qinghong.

Sham Yee Lan, chairwoman of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, told CPJ that the arrests were part of a wider attempt to suppress the freewheeling publishing industry in Hong Kong.

On July 26, 2016 a Shenzhen court sentenced Wang to five years and three months in prison for illegal business operations, and charges of bribery and bid rigging related to his other businesses in China, according to news reports. Guo was sentenced to two years and three months for illegal business operations. He was released in September 2016 after serving his sentence, according to Hong Kong Free Press, an English-language news website. Liu Haitao was released on probation.

CPJ was unable to determine where Wang is being held.

Lü Gengsong, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 7, 2014

Lü, a freelance writer, was detained on July 7, 2014, and his home was raided by security officers in Hangzhou city, Zhejiang province. He was charged with subversion of state power on August 13, according to Human Rights in China. On June 17, 2016, a Hangzhou court sentenced Lü to 11 years in prison after convicting him of the charge. The court said the conviction was related to articles Lü published on corruption, organized crime, and other topics, according to Radio Free Asia.

During an earlier hearing at a Hangzhou court on September 29, 2015, Lü tried to give a statement. The presiding judge interrupted and prohibited Lü from speaking, claiming the content of the statement endangered state security, according to Radio Free Asia.

Lü reported on the sentencing of rights activists and frequently voiced support for the protection of basic rights. In October 2013, Lü and others wrote an open letter and petition against China's presence on the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Lü had been jailed before. On February 5, 2008, the Hangzhou Intermediate People's Court sentenced him to four years in prison and one year's deprivation of political rights on a charge of inciting subversion of state power. A lower court found him guilty of publishing "subversive essays" on foreign websites, according to the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China, which monitors human rights and the rule of law in the country. Lü was released on August 23, 2011.

Lü lost his teaching position at Zhejiang Higher Professional School of Public Security in 1993 over his support of the pro-democracy movement. In 2000 his book, Corruption in the Communist Party of China, was published by Hong Kong Culture and Arts Studio. In March 2007 his article "China's Biggest Spy Organization: The Political and Legal Affairs Commission" appeared in Beijing Spring, an overseas democracy magazine.

Lü has lodged an appeal with Zhejiang People's High Court and was awaiting the court's verdict as of late 2016, his lawyer, Yan Wenxin, told CPJ. Lü is being held at Hangzhou Detention Center. He has high blood pressure and diabetes, according to Radio Free Asia.

Chen Shuqing, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
September 11, 2014

Chen, a freelance writer and member of the China Democratic Party and the Independent Chinese PEN Center, was detained on September 11, 2014, in Hangzhou city, Zhejiang province, on suspicion of subversion of state power, and his home was raided by agents from the Hangzhou Public Security Bureau. He had written several articles for the overseas Chinese-language website Boxun about pro-democracy advocates, many of whom are in the hospital or detention.

On June 17, 2016, a Hangzhou court sentenced Chen to 10 years and six months in prison for "subversion of state power." Chen's lawyer, Fu Yonggang, told reporters the verdict read, "Chen Shuqing published 14 articles on overseas websites Boxun and Canyu," and "through aforementioned proclamations, statements and articles, Chen Shuqing attacked and smeared the state power and the socialist system." Chen lodged an appeal with Zhejiang People's High Court and was awaiting the court's verdict as of late 2016, another of his lawyers, Liu Rongsheng, told CPJ.

Chen has been jailed before. He was placed under criminal detention on suspicion of inciting subversion of state power on September 14, 2006. On August 16, 2007, he was sentenced by Hangzhou Intermediate People's Court to four years in prison and one year's deprivation of political rights for subversion of state power. After the original verdict was upheld at the appellate court, Chen was jailed at Qiaosi prison in Hangzhou. He was released on September 13, 2010, after serving his term.

Chen is being held at Hangzhou Detention Center, his lawyer, Liu, said.

Wang Jing, 64 Tianwang

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
December 10, 2014

Wang, a volunteer journalist for the independent human rights news website 64 Tianwang, was arrested on December 10, 2014, while photographing protesters near the Beijing headquarters of the state-run broadcasting agency China Central Television, according to news reports that cited Huang Qi, founder and editor of the website.

In April 2016, Wang was sentenced to four years and 10 months in prison for "picking quarrels and provoking trouble." 64 Tianwang published what it described as a copy of the verdict. It said Wang "caused serious disruptions of online order" by posting "a large amount of information that is unconfirmed and defaming to the work of governmental agencies" in articles for 64 Tianwang and other websites. The court cited articles Wang wrote about protests and reports of Chinese police harassing, detaining, and beating protesters, according to 64 Tianwang.

In March 2014, Wang was detained by Chinese authorities after she and two other volunteer journalists published a report on 64 Tianwang about an attempted self-immolation and the defacing of a portrait in Tiananmen Square, news reports said. On that occasion she was held on suspicion of "picking quarrels and provoking trouble" but released on bail about a month later, the reports said. She was not charged at the time.

Wang has a brain tumor and her condition has deteriorated in custody, according to Radio Free Asia. The Hong Kong-based group Chinese Human Rights Defenders, citing her lawyer, reported that she was beaten repeatedly by local police and force-fed after she staged hunger strikes to protest her mistreatment.

Wang is being held at Jilin Women's Prison in Jilin province. Wang's mother Sun Yanhua told CPJ that Wang was taken to the prison's hospital in October 2016. In late 2016, she said that her daughter was still in the hospital. Sun said she is only allowed to visit Wang once a month for 30 minutes.

Drukar Gyal (Druklo), Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
March 19, 2015

Tibetan writer Drukar Gyal, also known as Druklo, was detained on March 19, 2015, according to Radio Free Asia. Gyal's family discovered that he had been arrested after they reported him missing, according to Radio Free Asia, which cited an unnamed source.

A court in Huangnan prefecture in China's northwestern Qinghai province sentenced Gyal to three years in prison on February 17, 2016 for inciting separatism and endangering social stability, according to news reports. Gyal was not allowed access to a lawyer during his detention or trial, Amnesty International reported, without citing sources.

On March 16, 2015, police searched Gyal's room and pointed guns at him when he asked to see a search warrant, according to Amnesty International. The court verdict cited Gyal's posts on his blog and social media about this incident, his comments about religious freedom, and a repost of a news report about the Dalai Lama as evidence of "inciting separatism."

Gyal denied the charges against him in court and wrote a letter to Qinghai High People's Court to appeal his sentence, according to Washington D.C.-based International Campaign for Tibet.

Gyal was previously detained for more than a month in 2010 on allegations of conducting and instigating separatist activities, according to Radio Free Asia. Gyal had written about the Tibetan protests of 2008 and the harsh responses from the Chinese government.

CPJ was unable to determine where Gyal is being held.

Lobsang Jamyang, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
April 17, 2015

Tibetan writer and blogger Lobsang Jamyang, also known as Lomig, was arrested by the Chinese police in Ngaba county in Sichuan province on April 17, 2015. In May 2016, the Wenchuan People's Court in Sichuan sentenced him to seven years and six months in prison in a secret trial after he was convicted of "leaking state secrets," the India-based Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy told CPJ.

According to an article on its website, people familiar with his case told the center that local authorities held Jamyang for more than a year without informing his family of his whereabouts and that he was beaten and tortured during this time. The article did not specify how he was allegedly tortured.

According to the website Tibet Express, Tibetan writers said they believe the conviction was over articles Jamyang published that were critical of the Chinese government's policies in Tibet, including on environmental degradation, restrictions on speech, and the causes of self-immolations and other protests in 2008. CPJ was unable to determine whether the articles were cited alongside his charge during the closed trial.

As well as writing for Tibetan websites such as Choeme, Sengdor and the blog Tsongon, Jamyang published a book titled "Surge of Yellow Mist," according to Tibet Express.

Jamyang was being held at Mianyang Prison in Sichuan province. After visiting him earlier in 2016, Jamyang's brother told the Tibetan Center for Human Rights that the writer is in poor health, but did not provide further details.

Jiang Yefei, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State, Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
November 13, 2015

Jiang Yefei, a political cartoonist, was repatriated from Thailand alongside a Chinese activist, Dong Guangping, and detained by Chinese authorities on November 13, 2015 on suspicion of "assisting others to illegally cross the national border," according to the state news agency Xinhua.

In May 2016, police in Chongqing city in southwestern China added the accusation of "inciting subversion of state power," according to the Ireland-based rights group Front Line Defenders.

Jiang, who is also an activist, fled to Thailand in 2008 after being harassed by Chinese authorities, according to Human Rights Watch. The cartoonist was detained twice that year after giving interviews to the international press in which he criticized the government's handling of the Sichuan earthquake, according to Radio Free Asia. Jiang was granted refugee status by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and had been accepted for resettlement by Canada, according to Human Rights Watch and news reports.

While in Thailand, Jiang used his social media accounts and articles published on the overseas Chinese-language news website Boxun to continue to speak publicly against China's human rights record and other policies. The journalist's wife, Chu Ling, told CPJ that since 2014, Jiang has been publishing political cartoons on his Facebook and Google+ page. In 2015, Jiang published a series of cartoons on Boxun, Chu said. She told CPJ that in 2015, as her husband's cartoons became more popular, she and Jiang received several anonymous phone calls from China demanding Jiang stop drawing. Chinese authorities also threatened Jiang's brother in China, asking him to tell his brother to stop drawing, Chu said.

In October 2015, Jiang was arrested by Thai authorities for allegedly breaking immigration rules by helping Dong come to Thailand, according to reports. Dong had spent 10 months in a Chinese jail for participating in a commemoration of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre before being released in February 2015, according to the BBC. On November 13, 2015 the Thai government deported Jiang and Dong to China, despite objections raised by human rights organizations and the Canadian government, which had accepted their applications for asylum, according to news reports.

On November 26, 2015 Jiang appeared on the Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, dressed in prison clothes, and confessed to human smuggling. He said he regretted his actions and pleaded for leniency. According to Chu, from the footage, Jiang looked as if he was in pain. "It was obvious to me that he had been beaten. A friend who was imprisoned for 13 years told me that from his experience in jail, it was clear to him that my husband was tortured," Chu told CPJ. CPJ was unable to verify her claims.

Jiang is being held at the No.2 Detention Center in Chongqing, according to Radio Free Asia.

Li Tingyu, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
June 15, 2016

Police in Dali, Yunnan province, detained Li Tingyu and Lu Yuyu, who are a couple, on June 15 2016, according to Radio Free Asia.

Since early 2013, Li had helped Lu to research and publish reports on protests. The pair worked together until their arrest, according to The Initium, a Hong Kong-based news website.

Since October 2012, Lu had been collecting information about protests -- including those against land expropriation, wage arrears, official corruption, and environmental pollution--on Chinese social media platforms, often posted by participants and witnesses who wanted to attract wider public attention. After verifying the photos, videos, and text, Lu would publish reports on the protests on his social media accounts, accompanied by photos and video clips collected from participants and witnesses. As well as reporting daily on protests, Lu periodically published statistical reports on the protests, he explained in a 2014 interview with Foreign Policy. [The author of the article now works at CPJ.]

Li, originally from Foshan, Guangdong province, had been repeatedly harassed by police when she was a student at Sun Yat-sen University for publishing articles criticizing the Chinese government on websites blocked by China's Internet censorship system. She dropped out of the university in 2014 as a result, according to Radio Free Asia and Wen Yunchao, a New York-based blogger and friend of Lu.

In August, Lu's lawyer, Wang Zongyue, posted on social media that when he visited Lu, the journalist told him prison officials had beaten him after he covered his eyes while trying to sleep under the bright lights in his cell. Lu said the guards had twisted his arms, choked him, and that he had hit his head on a wall as a result. After prison officials refused Lu's request to see a doctor, he went on hunger strike to protest his mistreatment, according to Wang's social media posts.

Police detained Lu for 10 days in April 2012 for participating in a protest demanding the disclosure of official assets. Li, originally from Foshan, Guangdong province, had been repeatedly harassed by police when she was a student at Sun Yat-sen University for publishing articles criticizing the Chinese government on websites blocked by China's Internet censorship system.

Lu and Li are being held at the Dali Detention Center, Li's lawyer, Huang Simin, told CPJ.

Lu Yuyu, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
June 15, 2016

Police in Dali, Yunnan province, detained Lu Yuyu and Li Tingyu, who are a couple, on June 15 2016, on suspicion of "picking quarrels and provoking trouble, according to Radio Free Asia.

Since October 2012, Lu had been collecting information about protests -- including those against land expropriation, wage arrears, official corruption, and environmental pollution--on Chinese social media platforms, often posted by participants and witnesses who wanted to attract wider public attention. After verifying the photos, videos, and text, Lu would publish reports on the protests on his social media accounts, accompanied by photos and video clips collected from participants and witnesses. As well as reporting daily on protests, Lu periodically published statistical reports on rallies, he explained in a 2014 interview in Foreign Policy. [The author of the article now works at CPJ.]

In early 2013, Li joined Lu in helping research and publish reports on protests. The pair worked together until their arrest, according to The Initium, a Hong Kong-based news website.

In August 2016, Lu's lawyer, Wang Zongyue, posted on social media that when he visited Lu, the journalist told him prison officials had beaten him after he covered his eyes while trying to sleep under the bright lights in his cell. Lu said the guards had twisted his arms, choked him, and that he had hit his head on a wall as a result. After prison officials refused Lu's request to see a doctor, he went on hunger strike to protest his mistreatment, according to Wang's social media posts.

Police detained Lu for 10 days in April 2012 for participating in a protest demanding the disclosure of official assets. Li, originally from Foshan, Guangdong province, had been repeatedly harassed by police when she was a student at Sun Yat-sen University for publishing articles criticizing the Chinese government on websites blocked by China's Internet censorship system.

Li, originally from Foshan, Guangdong province, had been repeatedly harassed by police when she was a student at Sun Yat-sen University for publishing articles criticizing the Chinese government on websites blocked by China's internet censorship system. She dropped out of the university in 2014 as a result, according to Radio Free Asia and Wen Yunchao, a New York-based blogger and friend of Lu.

Lu and Li are being held at the Dali Detention Center, Li's lawyer, Huang Simin, told CPJ.

Abduqeyum Ablimit, Uighurbiz

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
January or February, 2014

Ablimit is one of seven students connected to the imprisoned Uighur scholar Ilham Tohti, who were charged with being involved with Uighurbiz during a secret trial held in November 2014, according to Tohti's lawyer Li Fangping.

Tohti, a writer and blogger, was taken from his home by police on January 15, 2014, and the Uighurbiz website he founded, also known as UighurOnline, was closed. The site, which Tohti started in 2006, was published in Chinese and Uighur, and focused on social issues.

Tohti was charged with separatism by Urumqi police on February 20, 2014. He was accused of using his position as a lecturer at Minzu University of China to spread separatist ideas through Uighurbiz. On September 23, 2014, at the Urumqi Intermediate People's Court, Tohti was sentenced to life imprisonment. He denied the charges.

Several foreign governments and human rights organizations protested the sentence. The European Union released a statement condemning the life sentence as unjustified. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. was concerned by the sentencing and called on Chinese authorities to release him, along with seven of his students.

Tohti's appeal request was rejected at a hearing in a Xinjiang detention center on November 21, 2014 that was scheduled at such short notice that his lawyer was unable to attend.

Tohti's wife told Radio Free Asia in February 2016 that authorities allow family members to visit Tohti for only 30 minutes every three months.

Ablimit was charged alongside the students Perhat Halmurat, Shohret Nijat, Luo Yuwei, Mutellip Imin, Atikem Rozi and Akbar Imin with being involved with Uighurbiz during a secret trial held in November 2014, according to Tohti's lawyer Li Fangping. Many were administrators for the site, according to state media. According to the political prisoner database of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, an organization set up by the U.S. Congress to monitor human rights and laws in China, Rozi and Mutellip Imin wrote for the site. Imin, who is from Xinjiang and enrolled at Istanbul University in Turkey, has a blog, too. He was arrested when he tried to leave China.

According to The New York Times, three of the students made televised confessions on the state-run China Central Television in September, saying they worked for the site. Halmurat claimed to have written an article, Nijat claimed to have taken part in editorial policy decisions, and Luo, from the Yi minority, claimed to have done design work.

The seven students were sentenced to three to eight years in prison, according to the Global Times, a government-affiliated website. The length of sentence for each student was unclear and details of where they are being held were not disclosed.

CPJ could not determine the names or contact details of the lawyers representing the students. Liu Xiaoyuan, who is also representing, Tohti, told CPJ he did not have information on the students' cases.

Akbar Imin, Uighurbiz

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
January or February, 2014

Imin is one of seven students connected to the imprisoned Uighur scholar Ilham Tohti, who were charged with being involved with Uighurbiz during a secret trial held in November 2014, according to Tohti's lawyer Li Fangping.

Tohti, a writer and blogger, was taken from his home by police on January 15, 2014, and the Uighurbiz website he founded, also known as UighurOnline, was closed. The site, which Tohti started in 2006, was published in Chinese and Uighur, and focused on social issues.

Tohti was charged with separatism by Urumqi police on February 20, 2014. He was accused of using his position as a lecturer at Minzu University of China to spread separatist ideas through Uighurbiz. On September 23, 2014, at the Urumqi Intermediate People's Court, Tohti was sentenced to life imprisonment. He denied the charges.

Several foreign governments and human rights organizations protested the sentence. The European Union released a statement condemning the life sentence as unjustified. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. was concerned by the sentencing and called on Chinese authorities to release him, along with seven of his students.

Tohti's appeal request was rejected at a hearing in a Xinjiang detention center on November 21, 2014 that was scheduled at such short notice that his lawyer was unable to attend.

Tohti's wife told Radio Free Asia in February 2016 that authorities allow family members to visit Tohti for only 30 minutes every three months.

Akbar Imin was charged alongside the students Perhat Halmurat, Shohret Nijat, Luo Yuwei, Mutellip Imin, and Abduqeyum Ablimit, Atikem Rozi with being with being involved with Uighurbiz during a secret trial held in November 2014, according to Tohti's lawyer Li Fangping. Many were administrators for the site, according to state media. According to the political prisoner database of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, an organization set up by the U.S. Congress to monitor human rights and laws in China, Rozi and Mutellip Imin wrote for the site. Imin, who is from Xinjiang and enrolled at Istanbul University in Turkey, has a blog, too. He was arrested when he tried to leave China.

According to The New York Times, three of the students made televised confessions on the state-run China Central Television in September, saying they worked for the site. Halmurat claimed to have written an article, Nijat claimed to have taken part in editorial policy decisions, and Luo, from the Yi minority, claimed to have done design work.

The seven students were sentenced to three to eight years in prison, according to the Global Times, a government-affiliated website. The length of sentence for each student was unclear and details of where they are being held were not disclosed.

CPJ could not determine the names or contact details of the lawyers representing the students. Liu Xiaoyuan, who is also representing, Tohti, told CPJ he did not have information on the students' cases.

Atikem Rozi, Uighurbiz

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
January or February, 2014

Rozi is one of seven students connected to the imprisoned Uighur scholar Ilham Tohti, who were charged with being involved with Uighurbiz during a secret trial held in November 2014, according to Tohti's lawyer Li Fangping.

Tohti, a writer and blogger, was taken from his home by police on January 15, 2014, and the Uighurbiz website he founded, also known as UighurOnline, was closed. The site, which Tohti started in 2006, was published in Chinese and Uighur, and focused on social issues.

Tohti was charged with separatism by Urumqi police on February 20, 2014. He was accused of using his position as a lecturer at Minzu University of China to spread separatist ideas through Uighurbiz. On September 23, 2014, at the Urumqi Intermediate People's Court, Tohti was sentenced to life imprisonment. He denied the charges.

Several foreign governments and human rights organizations protested the sentence. The European Union released a statement condemning the life sentence as unjustified. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. was concerned by the sentencing and called on Chinese authorities to release him, along with seven of his students.

Tohti's appeal request was rejected at a hearing in a Xinjiang detention center on November 21, 2014 that was scheduled at such short notice that his lawyer was unable to attend.

Tohti's wife told Radio Free Asia in February 2016 that authorities allow family members to visit Tohti for only 30 minutes every three months.

Rozi was charged alongside the students Perhat Halmurat, Shohret Nijat, Luo Yuwei, Mutellip Imin, Abduqeyum Ablimit, and Akbar Imin with being involved with Uighurbiz during a secret trial held in November 2014, according to Tohti's lawyer Li Fangping. Many were administrators for the site, according to state media. According to the political prisoner database of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, an organization set up by the U.S. Congress to monitor human rights and laws in China, Rozi and Mutellip Imin wrote for the site. Imin, who is from Xinjiang and enrolled at Istanbul University in Turkey, has a blog, too. He was arrested when he tried to leave China.

According to The New York Times, three of the students made televised confessions on the state-run China Central Television in September, saying they worked for the site. Halmurat claimed to have written an article, Nijat claimed to have taken part in editorial policy decisions, and Luo, from the Yi minority, claimed to have done design work.

The seven students were sentenced to three to eight years in prison, according to the Global Times, a government-affiliated website. The length of sentence for each student was unclear and details of where they are being held were not disclosed.

CPJ could not determine the names or contact details of the lawyers representing the students. Liu Xiaoyuan, who is also representing, Tohti, told CPJ he did not have information on the students' cases.

Luo Yuwei, Uighurbiz

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
January or February, 2014

Luo is one of seven students connected to the imprisoned Uighur scholar Ilham Tohti, who were charged with being involved with Uighurbiz during a secret trial held in November 2014, according to Tohti's lawyer Li Fangping.

Tohti, a writer and blogger, was taken from his home by police on January 15, 2014, and the Uighurbiz website he founded, also known as UighurOnline, was closed. The site, which Tohti started in 2006, was published in Chinese and Uighur, and focused on social issues.

Tohti was charged with separatism by Urumqi police on February 20, 2014. He was accused of using his position as a lecturer at Minzu University of China to spread separatist ideas through Uighurbiz. On September 23, 2014, at the Urumqi Intermediate People's Court, Tohti was sentenced to life imprisonment. He denied the charges.

Several foreign governments and human rights organizations protested the sentence. The European Union released a statement condemning the life sentence as unjustified. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. was concerned by the sentencing and called on Chinese authorities to release him, along with seven of his students.

Tohti's appeal request was rejected at a hearing in a Xinjiang detention center on November 21, 2014 that was scheduled at such short notice that his lawyer was unable to attend.

Tohti's wife told Radio Free Asia in February 2016 that authorities allow family members to visit Tohti for only 30 minutes every three months.

Luo was charged alongside the students Perhat Halmurat, Shohret Nijat, Mutellip Imin, Abduqeyum Ablimit, Atikem Rozi and Akbar Imin with being involved with Uighurbiz during a secret trial held in November 2014, according to Tohti's lawyer Li Fangping. Many were administrators for the site, according to state media. According to the political prisoner database of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, an organization set up by the U.S. Congress to monitor human rights and laws in China, Rozi and Mutellip Imin wrote for the site. Imin, who is from Xinjiang and enrolled at Istanbul University in Turkey, has a blog, too. He was arrested when he tried to leave China.

According to The New York Times, three of the students made televised confessions on the state-run China Central Television in September, saying they worked for the site. Halmurat claimed to have written an article, Nijat claimed to have taken part in editorial policy decisions, and Luo, from the Yi minority, claimed to have done design work.

The seven students were sentenced to three to eight years in prison, according to the Global Times, a government-affiliated website. The length of sentence for each student was unclear and details of where they are being held were not disclosed.

CPJ could not determine the names or contact details of the lawyers representing the students. Liu Xiaoyuan, who is also representing, Tohti, told CPJ he did not have information on the students' cases.

Mutellip Imin, Uighurbiz

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
January or February, 2014

Imin is one of seven students connected to the imprisoned Uighur scholar Ilham Tohti, who were charged with being involved with Uighurbiz during a secret trial held in November 2014, according to Tohti's lawyer Li Fangping.

Tohti, a writer and blogger, was taken from his home by police on January 15, 2014, and the Uighurbiz website he founded, also known as UighurOnline, was closed. The site, which Tohti started in 2006, was published in Chinese and Uighur, and focused on social issues.

Tohti was charged with separatism by Urumqi police on February 20, 2014. He was accused of using his position as a lecturer at Minzu University of China to spread separatist ideas through Uighurbiz. On September 23, 2014, at the Urumqi Intermediate People's Court, Tohti was sentenced to life imprisonment. He denied the charges.

Several foreign governments and human rights organizations protested the sentence. The European Union released a statement condemning the life sentence as unjustified. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. was concerned by the sentencing and called on Chinese authorities to release him, along with seven of his students.

Tohti's appeal request was rejected at a hearing in a Xinjiang detention center on November 21, 2014 that was scheduled at such short notice that his lawyer was unable to attend.

Tohti's wife told Radio Free Asia in February 2016 that authorities allow family members to visit Tohti for only 30 minutes every three months.

Mutellip Imin was charged alongside the students Perhat Halmurat, Shohret Nijat, Luo Yuwei, Abduqeyum Ablimit, Atikem Rozi and Akbar Imin with being involved with Uighurbiz during a secret trial held in November 2014, according to Tohti's lawyer Li Fangping. Many were administrators for the site, according to state media. According to the political prisoner database of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, an organization set up by the U.S. Congress to monitor human rights and laws in China, Rozi and Mutellip Imin wrote for the site. Imin, who is from Xinjiang and enrolled at Istanbul University in Turkey, has a blog, too. He was arrested when he tried to leave China.

According to The New York Times, three of the students made televised confessions on the state-run China Central Television in September, saying they worked for the site. Halmurat claimed to have written an article, Nijat claimed to have taken part in editorial policy decisions, and Luo, from the Yi minority, claimed to have done design work.

The seven students were sentenced to three to eight years in prison, according to the Global Times, a government-affiliated website. The length of sentence for each student was unclear and details of where they are being held were not disclosed.

CPJ could not determine the names or contact details of the lawyers representing the students. Liu Xiaoyuan, who is also representing, Tohti, told CPJ he did not have information on the students' cases.

Perhat Halmurat, Uighurbiz

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
January or February, 2014

Halmurat is one of seven students connected to the imprisoned Uighur scholar Ilham Tohti, who were charged with being involved with Uighurbiz during a secret trial held in November 2014, according to Tohti's lawyer Li Fangping.

Tohti, a writer and blogger, was taken from his home by police on January 15, 2014, and the Uighurbiz website he founded, also known as UighurOnline, was closed. The site, which Tohti started in 2006, was published in Chinese and Uighur, and focused on social issues.

Tohti was charged with separatism by Urumqi police on February 20, 2014. He was accused of using his position as a lecturer at Minzu University of China to spread separatist ideas through Uighurbiz. On September 23, 2014, at the Urumqi Intermediate People's Court, Tohti was sentenced to life imprisonment. He denied the charges.

Several foreign governments and human rights organizations protested the sentence. The European Union released a statement condemning the life sentence as unjustified. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. was concerned by the sentencing and called on Chinese authorities to release him, along with seven of his students.

Tohti's appeal request was rejected at a hearing in a Xinjiang detention center on November 21, 2014 that was scheduled at such short notice that his lawyer was unable to attend.

Tohti's wife told Radio Free Asia in February 2016 that authorities allow family members to visit Tohti for only 30 minutes every three months.

Halmurat was charged alongside the students Shohret Nijat, Luo Yuwei, Mutellip Imin, Abduqeyum Ablimit, Atikem Rozi and Akbar Imin with being involved with Uighurbiz during a secret trial held in November 2014, according to Tohti's lawyer Li Fangping. Many were administrators for the site, according to state media. According to the political prisoner database of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, an organization set up by the U.S. Congress to monitor human rights and laws in China, Rozi and Mutellip Imin wrote for the site. Imin, who is from Xinjiang and enrolled at Istanbul University in Turkey, has a blog, too. He was arrested when he tried to leave China.

According to The New York Times, three of the students made televised confessions on the state-run China Central Television in September, saying they worked for the site. Halmurat claimed to have written an article, Nijat claimed to have taken part in editorial policy decisions, and Luo, from the Yi minority, claimed to have done design work.

The seven students were sentenced to three to eight years in prison, according to the Global Times, a government-affiliated website. The length of sentence for each student was unclear and details of where they are being held were not disclosed.

CPJ could not determine the names or contact details of the lawyers representing the students. Liu Xiaoyuan, who is also representing, Tohti, told CPJ he did not have information on the students' cases.

Shoret Nijat, Uighurbiz

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
January or February, 2014

Nijat is one of seven students connected to the imprisoned Uighur scholar Ilham Tohti, who were charged with being involved with Uighurbiz during a secret trial held in November 2014, according to Tohti's lawyer Li Fangping.

Tohti, a writer and blogger, was taken from his home by police on January 15, 2014, and the Uighurbiz website he founded, also known as UighurOnline, was closed. The site, which Tohti started in 2006, was published in Chinese and Uighur, and focused on social issues.

Tohti was charged with separatism by Urumqi police on February 20, 2014. He was accused of using his position as a lecturer at Minzu University of China to spread separatist ideas through Uighurbiz. On September 23, 2014, at the Urumqi Intermediate People's Court, Tohti was sentenced to life imprisonment. He denied the charges.

Several foreign governments and human rights organizations protested the sentence. The European Union released a statement condemning the life sentence as unjustified. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. was concerned by the sentencing and called on Chinese authorities to release him, along with seven of his students.

Tohti's appeal request was rejected at a hearing in a Xinjiang detention center on November 21, 2014 that was scheduled at such short notice that his lawyer was unable to attend.

Tohti's wife told Radio Free Asia in February 2016 that authorities allow family members to visit Tohti for only 30 minutes every three months.

Nijat was charged alongside the students Perhat Halmurat, Luo Yuwei, Mutellip Imin, Abduqeyum Ablimit, Atikem Rozi and Akbar Imin with being involved with Uighurbiz during a secret trial held in November 2014, according to Tohti's lawyer Li Fangping. Many were administrators for the site, according to state media. According to the political prisoner database of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, an organization set up by the U.S. Congress to monitor human rights and laws in China, Rozi and Mutellip Imin wrote for the site. Imin, who is from Xinjiang and enrolled at Istanbul University in Turkey, has a blog, too. He was arrested when he tried to leave China.

According to The New York Times, three of the students made televised confessions on the state-run China Central Television in September, saying they worked for the site. Halmurat claimed to have written an article, Nijat claimed to have taken part in editorial policy decisions, and Luo, from the Yi minority, claimed to have done design work.

The seven students were sentenced to three to eight years in prison, according to the Global Times, a government-affiliated website. The length of sentence for each student was unclear and details of where they are being held were not disclosed.

CPJ could not determine the names or contact details of the lawyers representing the students. Liu Xiaoyuan, who is also representing, Tohti, told CPJ he did not have information on the students' cases.

Nijat Azat, Shabnam

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July or August 2009

Authorities imprisoned Azat and another journalist, Nureli Obul, in an apparent crackdown on managers of Uighur-language websites. Azat was sentenced to 10 years in prison and Obul to three years on charges of endangering state security, according to international news reports. The Uyghur American Association reported that the pair were sentenced in July 2010.

Their websites, which have been shut down by the government, published news articles and discussion groups on Uighur issues. The New York Times cited friends and relatives of the journalists who said they were prosecuted because they failed to respond quickly enough when they were ordered to delete content that discussed the difficulties of life in Xinjiang.

According to the Uyghur PEN Center, Obul was released after completing his sentence. CPJ was unable to determine where Azat was being detained as of late 2016. As is the case with many Uighur prisoners, the government releases little information on where they are being held.

Liu Feiyue, Minsheng Guancha

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
November 16, 2016

Police detained Liu Feiyue, the editor and founder of the human rights news website Civil Rights & Livelihood Watch, known in China as Minsheng Guancha, on November 16, 2016, according to his website.

On November 24, Minsheng Guancha reported that police in Suizhou city in China's central Hubei province told Liu's family that the journalist had been "criminally detained" and could be sentenced for subversion of state power, a crime that carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. Liu's family had not received written notification of his detention from police, the outlet reported

As the founder of a human rights news website, Liu has been a target of past police harassment and surveillance, and during politically sensitive events he has been detained or placed under house arrest, according to news reports. It was unclear if recent reports on the site led to his arrest. Liu was held briefly in October 2016 ahead of a gathering of the Chinese Communist Party Congress, according to reports. Authorities in China often detain writers and dissidents during national events or anniversaries such as of the Tiananmen Square protests to prevent them disrupting the events or speaking to the media.

Minsheng Guanchawas founded in 2006 and, according to its website, focuses "on the lives of the underclass." It reports on issues that state-controlled media outlets in China are often prohibited from covering, such as political protests, detentions of activists and writers, police abuse, and other human rights violations. The website has been blocked in China since soon after its inception, according to the writer Wu Yangwei, better known as Ye Du, a contributor to Minsheng Guancha and a friend of Liu's.

CPJ was unable to determine in late 2016 at which prison Liu is being held.

Huang Qi, 64 Tianwang

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
November 28, 2016

Police detained Huang, publisher of the human rights news website 64 Tianwang, outside his apartment complex in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, on November 28, 2016, according to mediareports. More than 10 officers searched Huang's home and detained his mother, Pu Wenqing, who was in his apartment at the time. Police took Pu to her home in the nearby city of Neijiang. When Pu arrived, she found her residence had also been searched, according to media reports.

CPJ's phone calls to the Chengdu Public Security Bureau seeking more information about Huang's detention in late November went unanswered. Police had not announced any charges against him as of December 1, 2016.

Huang founded64 Tianwang in 1998 with his then wife Zeng Li, as a missing-persons service. The website started covering issues not reported on by China's mainstream news media, such as protests, allegations of government corruption and abuse of power, police brutality, and the detention of writers and activists. On November 23 and 25, 2016, 64 Tianwang reported on the arrests of demonstrators who were protesting the death of a petitioner allegedly beaten by government supporters. Huang told Radio Free Asia that such reporting "could bring him trouble."

Huang and his staff have been subjected to police harassment since he founded 64 Tianwang. In October 2016, police briefly detained Huang ahead of a gathering of the Chinese Communist Party Congress. Huang was jailed from 2000-2005 on charges of "subversion of state power" for articles posted on 64 Tianwang, and from 2008-2011 on charges of "illegally holding state secrets." A volunteer for the site, Pu Fei, was detained for two weeks in 2008 after Huang was arrested. In April 2016, Wang Jing, a reporter at 64 Tianwang, was sentenced to four years and 10 months in prison for "picking quarrels and provoking trouble." She was arrested on December 10, 2014, while photographing protesters near the Beijing headquarters of the state-run broadcasting agency China Central Television, according to news reports. The website has been blocked in China since March 2003 and is frequently targeted by hackers, according to Radio Free Asia.

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Cuba: 2

Manuel Guerra Pérez, Cimarrón de Mayabeque

Medium:
Print
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
November 28, 2016

Police arrested Manuel Guerra Pérez, director of the independent bulletin Cimarrón de Mayabeque, and the outlet's editor, Lisbey Lora, on November 28, 2016, according to Diario de Cuba.

Guerra Pérez and Lora were arrested while out investigating stories for their publication, according to Cubanet. Vladimir Turro Páez, who contributed to the bulletin and who wrote about their arrest for Cubanet, told CPJ that police raided the journalists' homes and confiscated material, including a computer and printer used to produce the bulletin.

Cimarrón de Mayabeque is part of the network of independent, local publications supported by the Cuban Institute for Free Expression and the Press. Guerra Pérez reported on local issues, including politics, corruption, and health conditions in the Cuban province of Mayabeque, Normando Hernández, director of the local advocacy group, told CPJ. The September edition, reviewed by CPJ, includes an editorial about internet access, a report about low teacher salaries, and an article about the Panama Papers leak.

Journalists from Cimarrón de Mayabeque had received threats and been briefly detained on previous occasions because of their reporting, according to Hernández. On June 17, 2016, Guerra Pérez and Lora were briefly detained alongside the reporters Aníbal Alemán Jiménez, Rosa Avilés, and Turro Páez. Authorities questioned them about the publication and released them without charge, according to Hablemos Press.

Guerra Pérez's family was notified of his detention on December 1 and his mother was allowed to briefly visit him, according to Diario de Cuba.

Lisbey Lora, Cimarrón de Mayabeque

Medium:
Print
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
November 28, 2016

Police arrested Lisbey Lora, editor of the independent bulletin Cimarrón de Mayabeque, and the outlet's director, Manuel Guerra Pérez, on November 28, 2016, according to Diario de Cuba.

Lora and Guerra Pérez were arrested while out investigating stories for their publication, according to Cubanet. Vladimir Turro Páez, who contributed to the bulletin and who wrote about their arrest for Cubanet, told CPJ police raided the journalists' homes and confiscated material, including a computer and printer used to produce the bulletin.

Cimarrón de Mayabeque is part of the network of independent, local publications supported by the Cuban Institute for Free Expression and the Press. Lora reported on local issues, including politics, corruption, and health conditions in the Cuban province of Mayabeque, Normando Hernández, director of the local advocacy group, told CPJ. The September edition, reviewed by CPJ, includes an editorial about internet access, a report about low teacher salaries, and an article about the Panama Papers leak.

Journalists from Cimarrón de Mayabeque had received threats and been briefly detained on previous occasions because of their reporting, according to Hernández. On June 17, 2016, Guerra Pérez and Lora were briefly detained alongside the reporters Aníbal Alemán Jiménez, Rosa Avilés, and Turro Páez. Authorities questioned them about the publication and released them without charge, according to Hablemos Press.

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Egypt: 25

Mahmoud Abdel Nabi, Rassd

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
July 3, 2013

Abdel Nabi was arrested while covering clashes that erupted between pro-Muslim Brotherhood protesters and security forces in Alexandria, hours after Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who was then minister of defense, announced the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi.

Abdel Nabi is a correspondent for the news website Rassd, which is critical of the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood and the government that subsequently came to power, with el-Sisi as president. Months after Abdel Nabi's arrest, Egypt's prosecutor-general accused the banned Muslim Brotherhood of using several media outlets, including Rassd, to support its plot to take over the government and spread lies about the military and the government

Authorities arrested Abdel Nabi, along with his brother, Ibrahim, while he was photographing the clashes around Sidi Bishr mosque in Alexandria, according to reports by Rassd and other news outlets. Police seized his camera. He was charged with possessing weapons and rioting.

The journalist's trial began in late 2016. On November 30, the court adjourned until February 1, 2017, according to the local press freedom group Journalists Against Torture Observatory, which sent lawyers to observe the legal proceedings.

Abdel Nabi is being held in Borg el Arab prison on the outskirts of Alexandria. In June 2015, Rassd issued a statement saying the journalist had been beaten in prison and placed in solitary confinement. In November 2016, Abdel Nabi was injured and hospitalized after security forces cracked down on a protest in the prison, according to rights activists. He suffered cuts and bruises, and drifted in and out of consciousness during a visit from his father to the prison hospital, Journalists Against Torture Observatory reported. Before his hospitalization, Abdel Nabi had been on hunger strike to protest conditions in the prison.

Mahmoud Abou Zeid (Shawkan), Freelance

Medium:
Internet, Print
Charge:
Anti-State, Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
August 14, 2013

Abou Zeid, a freelance photographer, was detained while covering clashes between Egyptian security forces and supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi during the dispersal of the pro-Morsi sit-in at Raba'a Al-Adawiya in Cairo, according to news reports.

He was first held in a Cairo stadium with other protesters and foreign correspondents who were released the same day.

Abou Zeid contributed to the U.K.-based citizen journalism site and photo agency Demotix and the digital media company Corbis. After his detention, Demotix sent a letter to the Egyptian authorities confirming that Abou Zeid had been covering the clashes for the agency, the photographer's brother, Mohamed Abou Zeid, told CPJ.

In September 2013, the Egyptian general prosecutor's office extended the journalist's pre-trial detention, Mohamed, his brother, told CPJ. Mohamed told CPJ in 2014 that Abou Zeid's lawyer and the legal team at the Arab Network for Human Rights Information had appealed for his release. The appeal was denied.

On May 14, 2015, Abou Zeid appeared before a judge for the first time since his arrest, according to news reports. The judge renewed his pre-trial detention, according to the Freedom for Shawkan campaign. The journalist, whose lawyer was not present in court, told the judge about his arrest and denied the allegations against him.

In September 2015, after more than two years of pretrial detention, Abou Zeid's case was referred to a Cairo criminal court for trial. The photographer was charged with weapons possession, illegal assembly, murder, and attempted murder, according to court documents. The trial was ongoing in late 2016, and included more than 700 defendants.

During a trial session on October 8, 2016, the prosecution aired footage of anti-government protests in 2011 and 2012 as evidence against the defendants, Shawkan's lawyer, Taher Abou Nasr, told CPJ. None of the footage shown was of the Raba'a sit-in where Abou Zeid was arrested.

Abou Zeid is being held at Tora Prison. He has been diagnosed with Hepatitis C and his health has deteriorated in prison, the journalist's family told CPJ.

The journalist was a recipient of CPJ's International Press Freedom Awards in 2016.

Abou Zeid wrote a letter to mark his 600th day in jail in April 2015. The letter described the abuse he has suffered since his arrest and urged advocacy on behalf of detained journalists in Egypt.

Abdullah al-Fakharany, Rassd

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
August 25, 2013

Rassd Executive Director Abdullah al-Fakharany was arrested on August 25, 2013, in the home of the son of a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. Rassd co-founder Samhi Mustafa and Amgad TV presenter Mohamed al-Adly were arrested with him.

In February 2014, the three were charged with "spreading chaos" and "forming an operations room to direct the Muslim Brotherhood to defy the government" during the dispersal of the sit-in at Raba'a Al-Adawiya in Cairo, where Egyptians had gathered to protest the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi. The dispersal left hundreds dead, according to news reports. The Egyptian government has declared the Muslim Brotherhood to be a terrorist organization.

The prosecutor-general accused the Muslim Brotherhood of using several media outlets, including Rassd and Amgad TV, to support its plot to take over the government and spread lies about the military and the government.

Ahmed Helmy, Mustafa's lawyer, denied all of the charges against the journalists.

A Cairo criminal court sentenced all three journalists to life in prison on April 11, 2015. They had been tried along with dozens of other defendants including prominent leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. Life sentences in Egypt are 25 years long, and can be appealed, according to news reports.

The Egyptian Court of Cassation accepted the request for an appeal on December 3, 2015, on the basis that there was insufficient evidence for the conviction, according to news reports. The retrial was ongoing in late 2016.

Al-Fakharany and Mustafa were being held in Tora prison, southeast of Cairo. Al-Fakharany has swelling in his Achilles tendon, preventing him from squatting to use the prison bathroom, according to the Free Abdullah al-Fakharany campaign.

In a letter from prison that was publicized on May 3, 2015, World Press Freedom Day, al-Fakharany described being beaten and abused in custody.

Mohamed al-Adly, Amgad TV

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
August 25, 2013

Amgad TV presenter Mohamed al-Adly was arrested on August 25, 2013, in the home of the son of a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. Samhi Mustafa, co-founder of the news website Rassd, and Rassd Executive Director Abdullah al-Fakharany were arrested with him.

In February 2014, the three were charged with "spreading chaos" and "forming an operations room to direct the Muslim Brotherhood to defy the government" during the dispersal of the sit-in at Raba'a Al-Adawiya in Cairo, where Egyptians had gathered to protest the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi. The dispersal left hundreds dead, according to news reports. The Egyptian government has declared the Muslim Brotherhood to be a terrorist organization.

The prosecutor-general accused the Muslim Brotherhood of using several media outlets, including Rassd and Amgad TV, to support its plot to take over the government and spread lies about the military and the government.

Ahmed Helmy, Mustafa's lawyer, denied all of the charges against the journalists.

A Cairo criminal court sentenced all three journalists to life in prison on April 11, 2015. They had been tried along with dozens of other defendants including prominent leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. Life sentences in Egypt are 25 years long, and can be appealed, according to news reports.

The Egyptian Court of Cassation accepted the request for an appeal on December 3, 2015, on the basis that there was insufficient evidence for the conviction, according to news reports. The retrial was ongoing in late 2016.

In November 2016, al-Adly was transferred to Tora prison hospital for examination and treatment of chronic back pain, his sister told local press freedom groups. On November 22, the journalist was transferred from the hospital to Wadi el-Natroun prison, on the Cairo-Alexandria highway.

Samhi Mustafa, Rassd

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
August 25, 2013

Mustafa, co-founder of the news website Rassd was arrested on August 25, 2013, in the home of the son of a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. Rassd Executive Director Abdullah al-Fakharany and Amgad TV presenter Mohamed al-Adly were arrested along with him.

In February 2014, the three were charged with "spreading chaos" and "forming an operations room to direct the Muslim Brotherhood to defy the government" during the dispersal of the sit-in at Raba'a Al-Adawiya in Cairo, where Egyptians had gathered to protest the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi. The dispersal left hundreds dead, according to news reports. The Egyptian government has declared the Muslim Brotherhood to be a terrorist organization.

The prosecutor-general accused the Muslim Brotherhood of using several media outlets, including Rassd and Amgad TV, to support its plot to take over the government and spread lies about the military and the government.

Ahmed Helmy, Mustafa's lawyer, denied all of the charges against the journalists.

A Cairo criminal court sentenced all three journalists to life in prison on April 11, 2015. They had been tried along with dozens of other defendants including prominent leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. Life sentences in Egypt are 25 years long, and can be appealed, according to news reports.

The Egyptian Court of Cassation accepted the request for an appeal on December 3, 2015, on the basis that there was insufficient evidence for the conviction, according to news reports. The retrial was ongoing in late 2016.

Mustafa and al-Fakharany were being held in Tora prison, southeast of Cairo. Mustafa suffers from complications from a broken nose and an illness in the digestive system, according to statements made by his family on social media and members of the Free Fakharany campaign.

Abdullah Shousha, Amgad TV

Medium:
Internet, Television
Charge:
Anti-State, Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
September 22, 2013

Abdullah Shousha was arrested on September 22, 2013, while covering protests in Ismailiya, according to news reports and local press freedom organizations. Shousha is a correspondent and cameraman for Amgad TV, a privately owned Islamist channel. He also provided photos and footage to the opposition news outlet, Rassd, according to his Facebook page.

A month before his arrest, Shousha filmed an unarmed protester being shot by Egyptian armed forces in Ismailiya. The footage was aired by numerous television channels and has been viewed over 600,000 times on Shousha's YouTube page.

Prosecutors charged Shousha with "incitement to violence," "participating in an illegal protest," and "incitement against the ruling government" and ordered him held in pre-trial detention, according to local press freedom groups. On April 17, 2016, a criminal court found the journalist guilty of all charges and sentenced him to two years in prison. The court also convicted him of raising what is known as the "Raba'a Sign," a four-finger salute meant to commemorate the deaths of hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters during the violent dispersal of a sit-in at Raba'a al-Adawiya square in August 2013. Authorities banned the symbol in late 2013. Shousha's defense was preparing to appeal the sentence in late 2016, according to reports.

Shousha is facing a separate trial, known as the "Cell Cluster," in which he and 88 other defendants are accused of belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood group, setting fire to vehicles belonging to members of the police force and the judiciary in Ismailiya, and belonging to armed groups. The trial was ongoing in late 2016.

According to posts made by Shousha's sister to his Facebook page, the journalist is being held in Port Said prison, in a small cell that he shares with 7 other people.

The journalist, who was 23 at the time of his arrest, is pursuing a bachelor's degree in sociology at the University of Suez.

Shousha was not included in CPJ's 2013, 2014, or 2015 prison censuses because CPJ was not aware of his case.

Saeed Abuhaj, Sinai Media Center

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State, Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
November 4, 2013

Abuhaj, a videographer, was arrested at his day job at a tax agency in the city of Arish in northern Sinai and charged with inciting violence, participating in demonstrations, and using arms against police, among other crimes, according to news reports and local journalist unions.

Abdel Qader Mubarak, head of the Federation of Journalists and Reporters in Sinai, told CPJ in 2015 that he believed Abuhaj could have been targeted because of his coverage of Muslim Brotherhood meetings and protests in northern Sinai. The Egyptian government has declared the Muslim Brotherhood an illegal organization.

In a statement by the federation, Abuhaj's lawyer, Saeed al-Kassas, said that the accusations against the journalist were based on a leaflet bearing Muslim Brotherhood slogans that police found with Abuhaj. The prosecution was also relying on video footage showing Abuhaj at a Muslim Brotherhood demonstration. Abuhaj told prosecutors that he was using the leaflet as part of his coverage of protests, and that he attended demonstrations as part of his work as a journalist, the federation told CPJ. The lawyer said there was no proof that Abuhaj had participated in any violent activity, according to the federation's statement.

Abuhaj worked for the Sinai Media Center, which is made up of a group of journalists who post news items, videos, and photos online, and feed information to other news outlets. Abuhaj's work, including his coverage of terrorist attacks, was also published by the Rassd Sinai News Network. Abuhaj covered demonstrations, deadly clashes, and the destruction of government buildings that occurred as part of the conflict between supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and government forces after the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi. Abuhaj also covered socioeconomic issues such as fuel shortages in northern Sinai.

Terrorist attacks and fighting between state forces and militant groups have made Sinai more dangerous and restrictive to reporters in recent years. Journalists face threats from violent anti-government groups as well as state security forces, Mubarak said.

On November 17, 2013, a court in Arish ordered Abuhaj placed in pretrial detention, according to news reports. His pretrial detention has been periodically renewed, but no trial date had been set in late 2015, Mubarak said. Although CPJ was not able to determine the status of Abuhaj's case or his specific whereabouts in late 2016, his name continues to appear on lists of imprisoned journalists published by regional groups.

Mubarak told CPJ in late 2015 that Abuhaj was being held in Arish Central Prison. He suffers from a problem with his spine and receives medication sent by his family, according to Mubarak.

Hany Salah el-Deen, Misr 25

Medium:
Television
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
November 28, 2013

Salah el-Deen was arrested while trying to board a flight from Cairo to Beirut, according to news reports. He was interrogated and accused of involvement with the Muslim Brotherhood, the reports said. Salah el-Deen's family said he was traveling for medical purposes, but other news reports and Hazem Ghorab, the general manager of Misr 25, told CPJ he was traveling to look for work.

Misr 25, a channel supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood, was shut down when the military ousted former President Mohamed Morsi on July 3, 2013. Ghorab told CPJ that Salah el-Deen was the news manager for the outlet and hosted his own TV show. After the outlet shut down, he could not find work elsewhere. Before working at Misr 25, Salah el-Deen was a managing editor for Youm Sabea, according to that news website.

Salah el-Deen's TV show on Misr 25 was called "Matafi 180"(Firefighters 180). On June 26, 2013, one week before the station was shut down, Salah el-Deen aired an audio recording in which unidentified individuals called for Egyptian security forces to assassinate Muslim Brotherhood leaders.

On his show, Salah el-Deen regularly accused media critical of the Muslim Brotherhood of serving the interests of the former government of President Hosni Mubarak. On June 20, 2013, amid calls for nationwide protests against the Muslim Brotherhood, Salah el-Deen said he received telephone threats in retaliation for his criticism of anti-Brotherhood media. He broadcast the phone numbers from which he received the threats, which he said included statements such as: "Don't you dare let me hear your voice again. ...We will do to you what national security used to do to you earlier." Egyptian police and national security are known to have tortured and killed Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist sympathizers under previous regimes.

A Cairo criminal court sentenced Salah el-Deen to life in prison on April 11, 2015. He was tried, along with 50 other defendants including prominent leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, on charges of "spreading chaos" and "forming an operations room to direct the Muslim Brotherhood to defy the government" during the dispersal in August 2013 of the sit-in at Raba'a Al-Adawiya in Cairo, where Egyptians had gathered to protest the ouster of Morsi. The dispersal left hundreds dead, according to news reports.

The Egyptian government has declared the Muslim Brotherhood to be a terrorist organization. Life sentences in Egypt are 25 years long, and can be appealed, according to news reports.

Salah el-Deen's wife, Najlaa Taha, told CPJ in late 2015 that the journalist was appealing the sentence along with other defendants in the case. The Egyptian Court of Cassation accepted the request for an appeal on December 3, 2015, according to news reports. The retrial was ongoing in late 2016.

Taha, who was able to visit the journalist in Tora prison, where he is being held, said that Salah el-Deen's health had deteriorated. The journalist has chronic conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, and weak eyesight. In mid-April 2015, he was sent to Al-Manyal hospital in Cairo to be treated, according to news reports, but his wife says he needs additional medical care, which he is not receiving.

Ahmed Fouad, Karmoz

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
January 25, 2014

Fouad, a reporter for the news website Karmoz, was arrested while covering a demonstration by members of the Muslim Brotherhood in the neighborhood of Sidi Beshr in Alexandria governorate, according to his employer and local press freedom groups. The protest led to violent clashes between demonstrators and security forces.

Fouad was charged with "joining a group that aims to disrupt the law," "demonstrating without permission," "blocking a road," and "possessing a weapon," according to news reports, and was tried in an Alexandria criminal court along with nine other defendants. His trial, initially scheduled to begin in December 2014, was postponed at least six times due to the prison authorities' failure to transfer Fouad and the other defendants to court on time, according to reports citing Fouad's lawyer and family.

On June 14, 2016, the court found Fouad guilty of all charges and sentenced him to 3 years in prison, 3 years of parole, and a fine of 100,000 Egyptian pounds (US $5,850), according to news reports and local press freedom groups. Fouad lost an appeal of the sentence on November 8, 2016.

It is not clear whether the time the journalist spent in pre-trial detention will count towards his prison sentence.

Karmoz denied the allegations against Fouad and said he was doing journalistic work at the time of his arrest. The website covers local news and politics in Alexandria.

Fouad is also a college student pursuing a bachelor's degree in sciences at the University of Alexandria. He has been able to take exams for each of the semesters that have passed since his arrest, according to news reports. He is being held in Burj al Arab prison in Alexandria.

Mosad Al-Barbary, Ahrar 25

Medium:
Television
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
April 2, 2014

Al-Barbary, the administrative manager of Misr 25, a TV channel affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, was arrested in Beirut, where he had gone to reopen and manage another satellite station, Ahrar 25, on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hazem Ghorab, Misr 25's general manager, told CPJ. The Egyptian government has declared the Muslim Brotherhood to be a terrorist organization.

Ahrar 25 operated from Lebanon from September 2013 to February 2014 but faced several disruptions before being finally removed from the air because of pressure from neighboring governments, according to news reports citing Islam Akl, a host at the station.

Al-Barbary was arrested near Rafik Hariri airport while he was waiting for the arrival of Mokhtar al-Ashry, head of the legal department of the Muslim Brotherhood, according to news reports. Al-Ashry was detained first and, when Al-Barbary inquired about him with airport authorities, he was also arrested. Both were detained for five days by Lebanese national security, under a request by the Egyptian government, then were deported to Cairo with Egyptian security agents, the reports said. Lebanese authorities said Al-Barbary had been extradited based on a bilateral extradition treaty between the countries, according to news reports. Ahrar TV staff members fled Lebanon after Al-Barbary was arrested, according to reports.

Upon their arrival in Cairo on April 7, Al-Ashry was charged with using a false passport, news reports said.

Al-Barbary was charged with "publishing false news" in order to support the Brotherhood's alleged operations room during the dispersal of the August 2013 sit-in at Raba'a Al-Adawiya in Cairo, where Egyptians had gathered to protest the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi. The dispersal left hundreds dead, according to news reports. Al-Barbary was also charged with "spreading chaos" and "forming an operations room to direct the Muslim Brotherhood to defy the government" during the dispersal.

Al-Barbary was tried along with 50 other defendants, including prominent leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, who faced similar charges. Al-Barbary's lawyer, Mahmoud Amer, told CPJ that Al-Barbary was added to the Raba'a operations room case after it was referred to court in March 2014.

On April 11, 2015, a Cairo criminal court sentenced Al-Barbary to life in prison. Life sentences in Egypt are 25 years long, and can be appealed, according to news reports. The Egyptian Court of Cassation accepted the request for an appeal on December 3, 2015, according to news reports. The retrial was ongoing in late 2016.

Al-Barbary is being held at Tora prison.

Abdel Rahman Shaheen, Freedom and Justice Gate

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State, False News, Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
April 9, 2014

Shaheen, a correspondent for Freedom and Justice Gate, was arrested on the street in Suez City, according to news reports. Freedom and Justice Gate is a news website affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, which the Egyptian government has declared a terrorist organization.

In June 2014, a Suez court sentenced Shaheen to three years in prison and 10,000 Egyptian pounds (US$1,400) on charges of inciting and committing violence during protests. His appeal was denied on December 25, 2014, according to his employer, and again on October 7, 2015, according to the local press freedom group Journalists Against Torture Observatory.

Freedom and Justice Gate condemned the arrest and denied the allegations against Shaheen in a statement issued shortly after the journalist's arrest. Shaheen's wife said the court did not allow his defense lawyer to present his case and did not inform them of the verdict, news reports said.

In February 2015, another Suez court sentenced Shaheen to an additional three years on charges of aiding terrorism and broadcasting false news, according to the Journalists Against Torture Observatory. Shaheen is appealing both sentences, but the trials had not begun in late 2016.

In February 2015, a military court began trying the journalist on multiple charges of murder allegedly committed on August 14 and 16, 2013, according to news reports. On August 14, 2013, security forces violently dispersed a sit-in of supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi at the Raba'a Al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo. Hundreds died in the dispersal, triggering violence and unrest throughout the country, in which dozens more people were killed.

On December 22, 2015, the military court convicted the journalist of the charges and sentenced him to life in prison, according to news reports and regional press freedom groups.

His wife told press freedom groups that despite being in prison since the military trial began, he was not transferred from prison to court to attend any hearings in this trial and was therefore listed in the military court's documents as "a fugitive from the law."

In a letter written by Shaheen in prison and published by his outlet in August 2015, the journalist denied all charges against him and said he believed he was targeted due to his former affiliation with the international broadcaster Al-Jazeera, which Egypt banned on the accusation that it uses its reporting to serve the interests of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Jazeera confirmed to CPJ in October 2015 that Shaheen had been working for the network up until his arrest, but that he and his family requested that the outlet not campaign for his release for fear that it could harm his chances of release.

Shaheen is being held in Gamasa prison, according to local press freedom groups quoting his wife. Prison guards have denied her rights to visit Shaheen on more than one occasion, she said.

Omar Abdel Maksoud, Masr al-Arabia

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State, Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
April 15, 2014

Abdel Maksoud was first arrested on February 19, 2014, while covering a baby shower for a woman who had been taken into custody and forced to give birth in a hospital in handcuffs, according to news reports. The woman had been arrested on accusations of participating in an anti-government protest.

Activists organized a celebration for the woman and her baby in front of their home in the Al-Zawya Al-Hamra neighborhood in Cairo, days after the mother was released from custody, according to news reports. Police stormed the celebration, and beat and arrested the participants, including Abdel Maksoud, according to news reports.

Abdel Maksoud, a photographer, was covering the celebration for the independent Masr al-Arabia news website, the outlet said. Masr al-Arabia said the journalist was charged with working for Al-Jazeera, which is banned in Egypt on the accusation that it uses its reporting to serve the interests of the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

After nearly a month of detention in Tora prison in Cairo, Abdel Maksoud was released on bail on March 9, 2014, and continued to work with Masr al-Arabia.

On April 15, 2014, he was arrested again while visiting his family at their house in Mit Ghamr City, north of Cairo. Abdel Maksoud's family told reporters that police came to their house looking for the journalist, and arrested him and one of his brothers, Ibrahim. The next day, the police came back for another brother, Anas. All three were charged with setting fire to cars belonging to Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's presidential campaign. The cars had been set on fire a few days before the arrest, according to news reports.

Abdel Maksoud was also charged with belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood. His colleagues and friends publicly denied the accusation.

Masr al-Arabia officials said Abdel Maksoud was on assignment for them in Cairo at the time of the alleged crime. Cairo is hundreds of miles from Mit Ghamr City, where the cars were attacked.

While Abdel Maksoud and his brothers were being held in pretrial detention, a court in the city of Mansoura ordered their release on bail twice, but the Ministry of Interior appealed to keep them in custody, according to news reports citing their lawyer, Malek Al-Ghazali. The court refused the ministry's appeal and ordered their release a third time on September 11, 2014, according to the reports.

The journalist's family posted bail of 15,000 Egyptian pounds (US$2,000), but the three brothers were not released. Ten days later, on September 21, 2014, Abdel Maksoud's family and his lawyers were told that the prosecution had brought a new case against them and that the three had been charged with participating in an illegal demonstration in Mit Ghamr, according to reports citing their lawyer.

Although the three brothers were in detention, the Mansoura Criminal Court on January 19, 2015, sentenced them in absentia to life in prison on charges of setting fire to cars and belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, according to news reports. Abdel Maksoud and his defense lawyer were not informed about the court session.

Sentences issued in absentia are automatically retried. Abdel Maksoud's retrial, which was being heard in a terrorism circuit court, was ongoing in late 2016. The regional group Arabic Network for Human Rights Information told CPJ that Abdel Maksoud's defense team would present evidence that he was working in Cairo at the time of the arson attacks in Mit Ghamr for which he is being tried.

On February 21, 2015, a criminal court in the city of Senbellawein, in the Dakahlia Governorate, sentenced Abdel Maksoud and one of his brothers to two years in prison on separate charges of illegal protests. That sentence was overturned on appeal on May 16, 2015, and the court cleared them of the illegal protest charges.

As of late 2016, no trial date had been set for Abdel Maksoud on the charge of working for Al-Jazeera.

In detention and during interrogations, Abdel Maksoud was physically abused, according to his family and colleagues, who said police had pulled out his fingernail in an attempt to pressure him to confess. Abdel Maksoud and his lawyers have denied all of the charges against him.

Abel Maksoud is held in Mit Ghamr prison, which is about 90 kilometers outside Cairo. He has heart problems for which he has received medical attention in custody, according to colleagues. In September, the Egyptian Journalist's Syndicate filed a complaint to the general prosecutor against security officers who it said beat the journalist in his cell after he objected to the confiscation of his medication. Local human rights groups have also documented prolonged denial of the journalist's visitation rights.

Emad Sayed Abu Zeid, Suef Online

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State, False News
Imprisoned:
September 1, 2014

Security forces arrested Abu Zeid at his home in the southern governorate of Beni Suef in September 2013 and accused him of publishing false news that harmed public opinion, both on the news website Suef Online as well as on social media affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, according to news reports.

One month later, Abu Zeid was released pending investigation. In September 2014, he was re-arrested when he appeared in court and was sentenced to three years in prison, according to his daughter, Fatma, who spoke to CPJ. According to local press freedom groups and Suef Online, he was convicted on charges of publishing false news and joining the Muslim Brotherhood, which the government has declared an illegal organization.

Abu Zeid was a correspondent for Al-Ahram Gate, the online portal of Egypt's main state-run newspaper, Al-Ahram. He also frequently wrote for Suef Online, which was critical of the July 2013 ouster of President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, the news website said.

According to Suef Online, Abu Zeid was arrested in connection with an article he wrote for the website on September 10, 2013, that criticized the local government in Beni Suef. The journalist has written several other articles for Suef Online that criticized the military-backed government.

Abu Zeid's brother, Shaaban Abu Zeid, said at an October 2013 press conference that his brother had been interrogated about his views of Morsi and the dispersal of a pro-Morsi sit-in on August 14, 2013, in which hundreds of protesters were killed. The journalist's brother said that Abu Zeid was also asked to swear that he was not a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, according to news reports.

On December 8, 2014, the journalist denied any affiliation with the banned group in a letter he wrote from prison, which was published on social media.

Abu Zeid is being held in a prison in the city of Fayyoum, where his family is able to visit him regularly, his son Amr told CPJ. In the first few months of his arrest, Abu Zeid wrote articles critical of the Egyptian government for Suef Online. By late 2016, he had stopped writing altogether, Amr told CPJ. "What would he say?" Amr said.

Alaa Abdelfattah, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State, Defamation, False News, Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
October 27, 2014

Abdelfattah, a prominent blogger and activist who has written about politics and human rights violations for numerous outlets, including the independent al-Shorouk newspaper and the progressive Mada Masr news website, is serving a five-year prison sentence for organizing an illegal protest and assaulting a police officer. Abdelfattah denies the charges.

In late 2016, the blogger was standing trial in a separate case on charges of "insulting the judiciary" on the internet and in media appearances, for which he could face a three-year prison sentence. The blogger's writing and social media posts were part of the evidence presented by the prosecution, his family and lawyers told CPJ. Co-defendants in this case include former Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi and a number of journalists and politicians.

Abdelfattah's current sentence is based on charges that he organized a protest against the trial of civilians in military courts on November 26, 2013. On November 27, 2013, an arrest warrant was issued for him and armed agents raided Abdelfattah's Cairo home and took him away for questioning, his family said. Abdelfattah's family, lawyers, and several human rights organizations told CPJ they believe the blogger was charged at least partly in retaliation for his writing about alleged human rights abuses by the police and security forces.

Abdelfattah was held in pretrial detention as the trial began on December 4, 2013. He was granted bail in March 2014, according to news reports.

On June 11, 2014, Abdelfattah was barred from entering the courtroom when a judge sentenced him in absentia to 15 years in jail, according to reports. The blogger was then taken into custody from outside the courtroom, according to his family and news reports. Under Egyptian law, cases that conclude with a sentence issued in absentia are referred automatically to retrial.

In September 2014, Abdelfattah was released pending retrial. When the retrial began in October 2014, he was taken back into custody, according to news reports.

Abdelfattah's sister Mona Seif was among several witnesses who testified in court that the journalist was not among the organizers of the protest. Seif said that she and other members of the No Military Trials group had claimed responsibility for organizing the protest, according to news reports. Defense lawyers submitted cell phone records proving Abdelfattah was not at the site of the protest at the same time as the police officer he was accused of assaulting, the family told CPJ.

The prosecution submitted as evidence tweets and quotes from Abdelfattah's writing in which he was critical of the judiciary and security forces, his family and lawyers told CPJ. State media broadcast tweets and excerpts of Abdelfattah's articles and Facebook posts, branding them proof of his anti-state beliefs, according to news reports.

The court sentenced him to five years in prison on February 23, 2015.

Abdelfattah had been detained previously for his writing. In October 2011, the blogger was arrested after writing about the Maspero massacre, in which 26 protesters, mostly Coptic Christians, died when the military ran over demonstrators with tanks. This was the first time reports and footage circulated widely online of deadly violence against civilians by the Egyptian military, which was ruling the country at the time. State media and the military government accused the protesters of attacking security forces, and described the bloodshed as sectarian violence between Christians and Muslims.

Abdelfattah was being held in Cairo's Tora prison where he is periodically denied access to books, pens, and paper. Close relatives are able to visit him, according to the family.

In June 2016, Abdelfattah wrote a series of articles from prison in which he discussed Uber in the context of the histories of industry and technology. The series was triggered by protests by taxi drivers against Uber and a similar app-based car service in Cairo in early 2016.

Hassan el-Kabbani, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
January 22, 2015

El-Kabbani, a reporter for several news websites, including the Muslim Brotherhood's news website Freedom and Justice Gate and Rassd, has been in pretrial detention since his arrest, according to news reports. In the meantime, his name was added to the sentencing phase in a separate, mass trial, resulting in life in prison.

The journalist is also a press freedom advocate and blogger who co-founded the "Journalists for Reform" movement in 2007. The movement, which identifies itself as a press freedom group, took a stand against the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi and is critical of the current administration. Months before el-Kabbani was arrested, he wrote several articles in which he criticized the military-led government for ousting Morsi. His articles, several of which were published in Freedom and Justice Gate, also expressed support for a popular uprising against the government.

El-Kabbani was arrested in his home in the 6th of October neighborhood in Cairo and taken by security agents in plainclothes to the local national security headquarters, according to news reports and human rights groups. El-Kabbani's wife said she and her brothers were also detained for one day and that el-Kabbani was abused in custody.

The reporter was charged with espionage, damaging Egypt's standing abroad, joining an illegal group, and disseminating false information to disturb public security and peace, among other charges, according to news reports. Before his arrest, his house was raided twice by police while he was out, according to the reports.

El-Kabbani's wife said that one of the central pieces of evidence against the journalist was a phone call he had made to Dr. Mohamed Ali Beshr, a Muslim Brotherhood leader and Egyptian politician who served as minister of state under Morsi. His wife said the phone call was for journalistic purposes.

On April 11, 2015, el-Kabbani was sentenced to life in prison on different charges in a separate case, in which he was tried with 50 other defendants, including prominent leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. All of them were charged with "spreading chaos" and "forming an operations room to direct the Muslim Brotherhood to defy the government" during the August 2013 dispersal of the sit-in at Raba'a Al-Adawiya in Cairo, where Egyptians had gathered to protest Morsi's ouster. The dispersal left hundreds dead, according to news reports. The Egyptian government has declared the Muslim Brotherhood to be a terrorist organization. Life sentences in Egypt are 25 years long, and can be appealed, according to news reports.

El-Kabbani's family and lawyer did not know he was being tried in that case until his name was read during the sentencing at the end of the trial, according to news reports. Egyptian authorities listed him as a fugitive in official court documents and tried him in absentia, even though he was in custody for the other case.

The Egyptian Court of Cassation accepted el-Kabbani's request for an appeal on December 3, 2015, along with the other defendants in the case, according to news reports. The retrial was ongoing in 2016.

The journalist is being held at Scorpion prison, a maximum-security facility that is part of Cairo's Tora prison complex, with restricted visits, according to news reports citing El-Kabbani's wife.

Abdelrahman Abdelsalam Yaqot, Karmoz

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State, Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
March 21, 2015

Yaqot, a photographer for the independent news website Karmoz, was detained by two police officers in plainclothes outside the Fauzi Maath police station, in the coastal city of Alexandria, where he had gone after getting a tip about a bomb threat at the station, according to Karmoz.

When Yaqot told the officers that he was a photographer, they verbally harassed him, beat him, and confiscated his press card, mobile phone, camera, and bag, Karmoz reported. The website said Yaqot was taken to his house, where police searched his apartment without a warrant. The local press freedom group Journalists Against Torture Observatory reported that Yaqot's lawyer said police did not find any evidence against Yaqot in his apartment.

Yaqot is charged with possessing explosives, which authorities said he had in his bag, and belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, according to Karmoz and Journalists Against Torture. The Muslim Brotherhood is banned in Egypt.

Prosecutors split their case against the journalist into two separate trials, on similar charges. The first trial, on charges of "attempting to burn down the Fauzi Maath police station," "participating in an illegal protest," "possessing explosives," "incitement to violence," and belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood group, began in early 2016 in Alexandria. On September 20, 2016, the court cleared Yaqot of all charges.

In the second trial, the journalist is charged with "possessing illegal weapons," "destruction of the Fauzi Maath police station," and belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood. It was not clear when the second trial would begin.

The journalist's lawyer and Karmoz said that Yaqot was not involved with the Muslim Brotherhood and had no political affiliation, according to news reports. Karmoz said he was arrested while doing his job for the website. Yaqot's lawyer said he submitted documents to authorities that verified Yaqot's legal employment at Karmoz, according to Journalists Against Torture Observatory.

Yaqot was being held in the Dekheila police station in Alexandria in pretrial detention. He has written several letters from jail, published by Journalists Against Torture Observatory and local media websites. In the letters, he describes the use of beatings and electric torture by security forces to collectively punish the group of detainees with whom he is being held.

Mohamed Abdel Moneim, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
April 24, 2015

Freelance photojournalist Mohamed Abdel Moneim was arrested while covering a protest by supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi in the Cairo neighborhood of Dar el-Salam on April 24, 2015, according to news reports.

Prosecutors charged him with participating in an illegal protest and belonging to a banned group, the reports said. The court sentenced Abdel Moneim to three years in prison on January 3, 2016.

Mohsen Shaaban, a journalist at the privately owned Tahya Masr, told CPJ that he testified in court that the photographer was on assignment for Tahya Masr and that he was in his second month of training with the paper at the time of the arrest. Shaaban was editor-in-chief of the paper at the time, a role he vacated in late 2015.

Abdel Moneim wrote a letter from prison which was published by local press freedom group Journalists Against Torture Observatory in June 2016. The journalist described the treatment of "political prisoners," who he said were dealt with as if they had "been branded with shame." Prison authorities refused the entry of items such as toothpaste to prisoners, he wrote.

Abdel Moneim is being held in Wadi al-Natroun prison outside Cairo. He is appealing his sentence, according to news reports. CPJ could not determine the status of the appeal in late 2016.

Mohamed el-Battawy, Akhbar al-Youm, Masr al-Arabia

Medium:
Internet, Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
June 17, 2015

El-Battawy was arrested by security forces after they raided his house in the village of Tokh in the Qalyubiya governorate, just north of Cairo. Security forces seized el-Battawy's mobile phone, his hard drive, and his personal books and papers, according to news reports. They did not present a warrant or give a reason for his arrest.

El-Battawy was a journalist with the state-owned daily Akhbar al-Youm. He wrote opinion pieces for independent outlets such as Masr al-Arabia and was frequently critical of the state's violence against anti-government protesters and its crackdown on the media. His writing was sometimes satirical. Some of the outlets he has written for, such as opposition newspaper el-Shaab el-Jadeed and Masr al-Arabia, say they have been targets of smear campaigns by government-aligned media, who accuse them of belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood. Police have visited the Masr al-Arabia offices on more than one occasion, in what are described as "routine" inspections.

Two weeks after el-Battawy's arrest, his outlet Akhbar al-Youm published a report claiming that Masr al-Arabia secretly served as a "media militia" for the Muslim Brotherhood. Masr Al-Arabia Editor-in-Chief Adel Sabry denied the allegations and pointed out factual errors in the report. Akhbar al-Youm published his denial in a statement in its print edition on July 25, 2015.

The journalist's family and lawyers were unable to locate him for five days after his arrest. He was not at Tokh police station, where security forces had told the family they would take him. The Egyptian Journalist's Syndicate issued a statement saying it had filed a complaint to the general prosecutor on the family's behalf, demanding to know the journalist's whereabouts.

On June 23, nearly a week after his arrest, a state-owned news wire reported that el-Battawy was being held at Tora prison.

El-Battawy later told his family that before he was transferred to the prison, he had been held at National Security headquarters in the Cairo neighborhood of Shubra el-Kheima for five days. He said he was blindfolded the entire time and was hit in the face and threatened with electric shock and sexual torture, according to Masr al-Arabia.

The Ministry of Interior issued a statement saying el-Battawy faced charges of belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood group, according to news reports. El-Battawy's wife, journalist Rafeeda al-Safty, wrote on Facebook in mid-July 2015 that he was also being questioned on accusations of "possessing explosives," "damaging public property," and "endangering the lives of others."

El-Battawy's wife is able to visit him in Tora prison. His pre-trial detention is renewed by the prosecution periodically. No trial date had been set for the journalist as of late 2016.

Hisham Jaafar, Mada Foundation for Media Development, Freelance

Medium:
Internet, Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
October 21, 2015

National security agents raided the offices of the Mada Foundation for Media Development in the Cairo suburb of 6th of October, and arrested its director, Hisham Jaafar, on October 21, 2015. Staff members at the foundation, who spoke with CPJ on the condition of anonymity, said the agents were masked and armed. The agents detained staff members at the offices for several hours. Human rights lawyers, among them lawyers for the regional rights group the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, were not permitted to enter the offices, according to news reports.

Security forces permitted all staff to leave that evening, but closed the foundation's office, which remained closed late in 2016, staff members said.

After Jaafar's arrest, several agents raided his home, which is within walking distance of the foundation's office, according to accounts from his wife and son on social media and in news reports.

Security agents took Jaafar to an unknown location after his arrest, according to news reports. Three days later, his lawyers were told he was being held in Cairo's Tora prison and had been questioned by national security prosecutors, Khaled el-Balshy, a member of the Egyptian Journalists' Syndicate, told CPJ.

The journalist was charged with belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood group and receiving bribes from foreign sources, according to his colleagues. His pre-trial detention is renewed for periods of 45 days.

Jaafar is the former editor-in-chief of the popular website IslamOnline, which covered news and religious and social issues. He founded the Mada Foundation for Media Development in 2010 along with other several former IslamOnline staff members. The foundation provides training and support for local journalists and serves as a hub for research projects on social issues, such as women's rights and religious dialogue. It also launched the website OnIslam, which covers news as well as features on lifestyle, health, and Islamic spirituality.

Several of the foundation's employees have received threats from security forces and some have left the country for fear of arrest, according to employees with whom CPJ spoke.

The Egyptian Journalists' Syndicate, along with several prominent Egyptian journalists and academics, have called for Jaafar's release, describing him as an independent journalist and researcher with no political affiliations. Former colleagues at IslamOnline and staff at the Mada Foundation told CPJ he had been working on investigative reports about parliamentary reform and a research project on national dialogue before his arrest.

Jaafar's wife Manar told CPJ that the journalist suffers from an enlarged prostate and damage to a nerve in one eye. He is being held in the prison hospital at Scorpion Prison in Cairo's Tora prison complex.

No trial date had been set as of late 2016.

Ismail Alexandrani, Freelance

Medium:
Internet, Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
November 29, 2015

Alexandrani, a freelance journalist and researcher whose work focuses on the Sinai Peninsula and Islamist movements in Egypt, was arrested at Hurghada airport upon his return from Berlin, on November 29, 2015, according to news reports. He was questioned by national security agents in Hurghada before being transferred to Cairo two days later, his wife, Khadeega Gaafar, told CPJ.

Alexandrani has been held without trial since his arrest. His detention is renewed by prosecutors every 45 days.

On December 1 and 7, 2015, homeland security prosecutors questioned Alexandrani for more than nine hours and charged him with belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood group, promoting the purposes of that group, and intentionally disseminating false information, according to local rights groups and statements made by Alexandrani's lawyers, who were present for the questioning.

The journalist was interrogated again by homeland security officers - also known as national security officers - inside Tora prison later in December 2015.

Alexandrani has written critically of the Egyptian military's efforts to combat extremist militias in the Sinai Peninsula, including for independent newspapers al-Safir and al-Modon, both based in Lebanon. He has also written for the Egyptian newspaper al-Badil. Government censorship and intimidation has resulted in scarce independent reporting about fighting in the peninsula and its toll on the civilian population.

Alexandrani was a visiting fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center's Middle East Program in Washington, D.C in the spring of 2015. After leaving the U.S., he moved to Turkey and gave several talks in Berlin and other European cities. The journalist knew he risked arrest for his writing upon returning to Egypt, but was compelled to return for a family emergency, according to statements made by his friends on social media and in news reports.

The journalist's wife, Khadeega Gaafar, told CPJ that she is able to visit Alexandrani in Tora prison, where he is being held.

No trial date had been set as of late in 2016.

Sabry Anwar, El Badil

Medium:
Internet, Print
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
February 21, 2016

Sabry Anwar, correspondent for independent newspaper El Badil, was arrested at his home by security forces on February 21, 2016. Anwar's whereabouts were unknown for four days until his wife Heba al-Khedry was able to meet with him briefly at a nearby police station, al-Khedry told CPJ in March.

Anwar told her that he had been subjected to torture by electric shock on four separate occasions and that security officers had pressured him to confess to crimes he did not commit. Police officers told al-Khedry and Anwar's lawyers that they had no record of his arrest. They were not able to see him again.

The Egyptian Journalists' Syndicate and local press freedom groups filed complaints with the prosecutor general and the Ministry of Interior, requesting information about Anwar's location and expressing concern that he might have been subjected to torture, according to news reports.

On March 16, the Ministry of Interior replied to the complaints, saying that Anwar had been arrested on the basis of a warrant issued by Homeland Security prosecutors, according to state media. On April 19, Anwar appeared before prosecutors in the Mediterranean port city of Damietta, who ordered him detained for 15 days, according to Anwar's lawyer Ahmed Taha. Since then, he has appeared before prosecutors for renewal of his detention orders.

As of late 2016, Anwar's lawyers had not yet been permitted to see the case documents and had not learned of the charges against him. The journalist was being held in Gamasa prison.

Anwar had been a correspondent with El Badil for roughly one year, covering local news in Damietta, according to editor Karim Saeed, Anwar's supervisor at El Badil. Anwar wrote several pieces critical of local government in the weeks before his arrest, including a piece about negligence in public hospitals, as well as alleged government negligence in searching for survivors of a sunken fishing boat.

Ahmed Mansi, Freelance

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State, False News
Imprisoned:
July 5, 2016

Journalism student and photographer-in-training Ahmed Mansi was arrested while filming a funeral procession in the historic neighborhood of Islamic Cairo on July 5, 2016, according to news reports and local press freedom groups citing eyewitnesses and the journalist's family. The funeral was for the brother of the counsel to the grand Mufti of al-Azhar University, Egypt's most prominent Islamic institution, according to news reports.

On July 12, Mansi's family filed a complaint with the general prosecutor and the Ministry of Interior, saying that he had been arrested and that they did not know of his whereabouts.

On September 5, Mansi appeared before prosecutors at the Sayyeda Zeinab police station in Cairo, and prosecutors ordered him detained for 15 days, according to local press freedom groups quoting his family. According to the Journalists Against Torture Observatory, this marked the first time Mansi officially appeared as a documented detainee in the justice system.

Mansi was charged with belonging to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group and working for international broadcaster Al Jazeera and pro-opposition television channel Mekameleen. Al Jazeera is banned on the accusation that it uses its reporting to serve the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood, according to news reports and press freedom groups. Mekameleen is pro-Muslim Brotherhood and came under fire in early 2015 for airing leaked recordings, allegedly of President Abel Fattah el-Sisi deriding Persian Gulf leaders. Al Jazeera and Mekameleen did not respond to CPJ's inquiries about whether Mansi was affiliated with the channels.

In a telephone interview she gave to Mekameleen, Mansi's mother said he had been filming for a journalism school assignment when he was arrested. Mansi studies journalism at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, according to social media and news reports.

Mansi is also in training as a photographer with the privately owned newspaper, Sawt al-Ummah, according to news reports and local press freedom groups. CPJ's messages to the outlet were not answered.

Prosecutors periodically renew Mansi's pre-trial detention. No trial date had been set as of late 2016. He is being held in Tora prison.

Hamdy Mokhtar, el-Shaab el Jadeed

Medium:
Internet, Television
Charge:
Anti-State, False News
Imprisoned:
September 26, 2016

Photojournalist Hamdy Mokhtar was arrested on September 26 along with photojournalists Mohamed Hassan and Osama al-Bishbishi, while filming near the Journalists' Syndicate in downtown Cairo, according to news reports and local press freedom organizations.

Each of the three journalists arrested works with a different privately owned outlet, but the trio was arrested together while interviewing passersby for their opinions on a recent initiative by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi encouraging Egyptians to donate their spare change in order to fund national projects, an initiative that sparked ridicule on social media.

Security forces arrested them on the spot, without stating any clear reason, according to a statement published by news website al-Naba'a, Hassan's employer. Al-Bishbishi is a photographer and cameraman with the news website Baladi. Mokhtar is a freelance photographer who works with the newspaper el-Shaab el-Jadeed, which is generally supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood leadership ousted in 2013.

The three journalists were interrogated by prosecutors and officers from Egypt's domestic intelligence agency throughout the night of September 27, lawyers Fatema Serag and Nourhan Hassan, who is the photojournalist Hassan's sister, told the Egyptian press freedom group Journalists Against Torture Observatory. The next morning, prosecutors charged all three with belonging to a banned organization, inciting violence and terrorism online, and publishing false news. Prosecutors ordered them held in pretrial detention for a renewable 15 days.

The lawyer Hassan said in her statement that all three journalists said they had been beaten, kicked, and electrocuted in custody. She said that Mokhtar had shown the worst signs of physical abuse, with visible bruises to his neck and back.

After being held in Kasr el Nil police station near downtown Cairo for nearly a month, the three journalists were transferred to Tora Istiqbal prison on October 29, according to their lawyers.

Mokhtar was arrested in July 2015 while at the state morgue covering the arrival of bodies of alleged Muslim Brotherhood members who had been killed by security forces. He was released on bail two months later. In January 2016, a court sentenced him in absentia to three years in prison for publishing false news. Sentences issued in absentia are automatically retried. The status of Mokhtar's retrial in that case was unclear in late 2016.

Mohamed Hassan, al-Naba'a

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State, False News
Imprisoned:
September 26, 2016

Photojournalist Mohamed Hassan was arrested on September 26 along with photojournalists Hamdy Mokhtar and Osama al-Bishbishi, and while filming near the Journalists' Syndicate in downtown Cairo, according to news reports and local press freedom organizations.

Each of the three journalists arrested works with a different privately owned outlet, but the trio was arrested together while interviewing passersby for their opinions on a recent initiative by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi encouraging Egyptians to donate their spare change in order to fund national projects, an initiative that sparked ridicule on social media.

Security forces arrested them on the spot, without stating any clear reason, according to a statement published by news website al-Naba'a, Hassan's employer. Al-Bishbishi is a photographer and cameraman with the news website Baladi. Mokhtar is a freelance photographer who works with the newspaper el-Shaab el-Jadeed, which is generally supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood leadership ousted in 2013.

The three journalists were interrogated by prosecutors and officers from Egypt's domestic intelligence agency throughout the night of September 27, lawyers Fatema Serag and Nourhan Hassan, who is the photojournalist Hassan's sister, told the Egyptian press freedom group Journalists Against Torture Observatory. The next morning, prosecutors charged all three with belonging to a banned organization, inciting violence and terrorism online, and publishing false news. Prosecutors ordered them held in pretrial detention for a renewable 15 days.

The lawyer Hassan said in her statement that all three journalists said they had been beaten, kicked, and electrocuted in custody. She said that Mokhtar had shown the worst signs of physical abuse, with visible bruises to his neck and back.

After being held in Kasr el Nil police station near downtown Cairo for nearly a month, the three journalists were transferred to Tora Istiqbal prison on October 29, according to their lawyers.

Osama el-Bishbishi, Baladi

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State, False News
Imprisoned:
September 26, 2016

Photojournalist Osama al-Bishbishi was arrested on September 26 along with photojournalists Hamdy Mokhtar and Mohamed Hassan, and while filming near the Journalists' Syndicate in downtown Cairo, according to news reports and local press freedom organizations.

Each of the three journalists arrested works with a different privately owned outlet, but the trio was arrested together while interviewing passersby for their opinions on a recent initiative by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi encouraging Egyptians to donate their spare change in order to fund national projects, an initiative that sparked ridicule on social media.

Security forces arrested them on the spot, without stating any clear reason, according to a statement published by news website al-Naba'a, Hassan's employer. Al-Bishbishi is a photographer and cameraman with the news website Baladi. Mokhtar is a freelance photographer who works with the newspaper el-Shaab el-Jadeed, which is generally supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood leadership ousted in 2013.

The three journalists were interrogated by prosecutors and officers from Egypt's domestic intelligence agency throughout the night of September 27, lawyers Fatema Serag and Nourhan Hassan, who is the photojournalist Hassan's sister, told the Egyptian press freedom group Journalists Against Torture Observatory. The next morning, prosecutors charged all three with belonging to a banned organization, inciting violence and terrorism online, and publishing false news. Prosecutors ordered them held in pretrial detention for a renewable 15 days.

The lawyer Hassan said in her statement that all three journalists said they had been beaten, kicked, and electrocuted in custody. She said that Mokhtar had shown the worst signs of physical abuse, with visible bruises to his neck and back.

After being held in Kasr el Nil police station near downtown Cairo for nearly a month, the three journalists were transferred to Tora Istiqbal prison on October 29, according to their lawyers.

^ Show all country summaries

Eritrea: 17

Ghebrehiwet Keleta, Tsigenay

Medium:
Print
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
July 2000

Security agents arrested Ghebrehiwet, a reporter for the now-defunct privately owned weekly Tsigenay, while he was on his way to work. He has not been heard from since. Sources told CPJ at the time that Ghebrehiwet was being held in connection with the government's overall crackdown on the press.

CPJ listed Ghebrehiwet on its annual prison list until 2010, when exiled journalists told the organization that Ghebrehiwet may have been released.

But in 2013, one of Ghebrehiwet's children, who had fled Eritrea, said Ghebrehiwet was still in custody, according to another exiled journalist who spoke to CPJ.

The journalist's relative told CPJ in 2014 that Ghebrehiwet was still in prison. CPJ emailed the Eritrean Information Ministry in October 2016 to request an update on his case. The ministry did not respond.

Dawit Habtemichael, Meqaleh

Medium:
Print
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
September 2001

Dawit is one of several journalists arrested after the government summarily banned the privately owned press on September 18, 2001, in response to growing criticism of President Isaias Afewerki. Eritrean authorities have never accounted for the whereabouts, health, or legal status of Dawit and the others. CPJ has confirmed that at least one of the journalists has died in secret detention, and is investigating unconfirmed reports that Dawit was one of two journalists said to have perished in custody in Eiraeiro.

Dawit's paper was one of several that reported on divisions between reformers and conservatives within the ruling Party for Democracy and Justice and advocated for full implementation of the country's democratic constitution. A dozen top reformist officials, whose pro-democracy statements had been relayed by the independent newspapers, were also arrested.

Authorities initially detained the journalists at a police station in the capital, Asmara, where they began a hunger strike on March 31, 2002, and smuggled a message out of jail demanding due process. The government responded by transferring them to secret locations without bringing them before a court or publicly registering charges. Several CPJ sources said the journalists were confined at the Eiraeiro prison camp or at a military prison, Adi Abeito, based in Asmara.

The exact reasons behind the arrests of the journalists are not known. Local journalists said they suspected authorities arrested Seyoum Tsehaye, a photojournalist with Setit, for an interview he gave the paper in which he said the government was stifling press freedom. Seyoum was being held at Eiraeiro Prison, local journalists said.

Over the years, Eritrean officials have offered vague and inconsistent explanations for the arrests--accusing the journalists of involvement in anti-state conspiracies in connection with foreign intelligence, of skirting military service, and of violating press regulations. Officials, at times, even denied that the journalists existed. Meanwhile, shreds of often unverifiable, second- or third-hand information smuggled out of the country by people fleeing into exile have suggested the deaths of as many as five journalists in custody.

When asked in a June 2016 interview with Radio France International about the status of journalists and politicians arrested in 2001, Eritrean Foreign Affairs Minister Osman Saleh said "all of them are alive" and they "are in good hands." Asked if they would face trial, Osman said they would, "when the government decides" since members of the group are "political prisoners."

Some of the journalists had been jailed previously. Mattewos Habteab, who originally worked with Setit but later founded his own independent weekly, Mekaleh, had written an opinion piece showing the Eritrean governments' disdain for journalists during the country's war of independence (1961-1991). This led to his arrest and detention for several months at the "Track B" military prison in Asmara. Eritrean security forces arrested Tsigenay founder Yusuf Mohamed Ali on October 14, 2000, for his criticism of the government and the generally critical content of his paper, and imprisoned him at Zara Prison in the Western lowlands of Eritrea, exiled Eritrean journalists told CPJ.

In February 2007, CPJ established that one detainee, Fesshaye "Joshua" Yohannes, a co-founder of the newspaper Setit and a 2002 recipient of CPJ's International Press Freedom Award, had died in custody at the age of 47.

CPJ is seeking corroboration of successive reports that several of the remaining detainees may have died in custody. In August 2012, the international press freedom group Reporters Without Borders, citing a purported former prison guard, Eyob Habte, said Dawit Habtemichael and Mattewos Habteab had died at Eiraeiro. In 2010, the Ethiopian government-sponsored Radio Wegahta also cited a purported former Eritrean prison guard as saying that Mattewos had died at Eiraeiro. The same purported guard, Eyob Habte, also claimed Medhanie Haile had died in Eiraeiro Prison.

In August 2006, an un-bylined report on the Ethiopian pro-government website Aigaforum quoted 14 purported former Eiraeiro guards as reporting the deaths of prisoners whose names closely resembled Yusuf Mohamed Ali, Medhanie Haile, and Said Abdelkader. The details could not be independently confirmed, although CPJ sources considered it to be generally credible. In 2009, the London-based Eritrean opposition news site Assena published purported death certificates of Fesshaye, Yusuf, Medhanie, and Said.

CPJ continues to list the journalists on the prison census as a means of holding the government accountable for their fates. Relatives of the journalists have told CPJ that they maintain hope their loved ones are still alive.

CPJ emailed Eritrea's Information Ministry in October 2016 to request updates on Dawit's case. The ministry did not respond.

Idris Abba Arre, Tsigenay

Medium:
Print
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
September 2001

Idris was a contributor to the privately owned weekly Tsigenay and also worked as a reporter at the Eritrean Ministry of Education. In either August or September 2001, Idris wrote an article in Tsigenay that criticized the government's policy of educating individuals in the mother tongue, according to Eritrean journalists in exile. The journalists said he was arrested because of the article.

The exact date of the arrest is unknown, but the journalists said they believed he had been arrested in September 2001. Authorities have not disclosed Idris' whereabouts or any charges against him, and the state of his health is unknown.

Idris did not appear on CPJ's census of imprisoned journalists prior to 2014. His case only came to the organization's attention as part of a fresh investigation in 2014 into the status of long-held prisoners in Eritrea.

When asked in a June 2016 interview with Radio France International about the status of journalists and politicians arrested in 2001, Eritrean Foreign Affairs Minister Osman Saleh said "all of them are alive" and they "are in good hands." Asked if they would face trial, Osman said they would, "when the government decides" since members of the group are "political prisoners."

CPJ emailed the Eritrean Information Ministry in October 2016 to request an update in Idris's case. The ministry did not respond.

Mattewos Habteab, Meqaleh

Medium:
Print
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
September 2001

Mattewos is one of several journalists arrested after the government summarily banned the privately owned press on September 18, 2001, in response to growing criticism of President Isaias Afewerki. Eritrean authorities have never accounted for the whereabouts, health, or legal status of Mattewos and the others. CPJ has confirmed that at least one of the journalists has died in secret detention, and is investigating unconfirmed reports that Mattewos was one of two journalists said to have perished in custody in Eiraeiro.

Mattewos paper was one of several reported on divisions between reformers and conservatives within the ruling Party for Democracy and Justice and advocated for full implementation of the country's democratic constitution. A dozen top reformist officials, whose pro-democracy statements had been relayed by the independent newspapers, were also arrested.

Authorities initially detained the journalists at a police station in the capital, Asmara, where they began a hunger strike on March 31, 2002, and smuggled a message out of jail demanding due process. The government responded by transferring them to secret locations without bringing them before a court or publicly registering charges. Several CPJ sources said the journalists were confined at the Eiraeiro prison camp or at a military prison, Adi Abeito, based in Asmara.

The exact reasons behind the arrests of the journalists are not known. Local journalists said they suspected authorities arrested Seyoum Tsehaye, a photojournalist with Setit, for an interview he gave the paper in which he said the government was stifling press freedom. Seyoum was being held at Eiraeiro Prison, local journalists said.

Over the years, Eritrean officials have offered vague and inconsistent explanations for the arrests--accusing the journalists of involvement in anti-state conspiracies in connection with foreign intelligence, of skirting military service, and of violating press regulations. Officials, at times, even denied that the journalists existed. Meanwhile, shreds of often unverifiable, second- or third-hand information smuggled out of the country by people fleeing into exile have suggested the deaths of as many as five journalists in custody.

When asked in a June 2016 interview with Radio France International about the status of journalists and politicians arrested in 2001, Eritrean Foreign Affairs Minister Osman Saleh said "all of them are alive" and they "are in good hands." Asked if they would face trial, Osman said they would, "when the government decides" since members of the group are "political prisoners."

Mattewos, who originally worked with Setit but later founded his own independent weekly, Mekaleh, had been jailed previously. He wrote an opinion piece showing the Eritrean governments' disdain for journalists during the country's war of independence (1961-1991). This led to his arrest and detention for several months at the "Track B" military prison in Asmara. Eritrean security forces also previously arrested Tsigenay founder Yusuf Mohamed Ali on October 14, 2000, for his criticism of the government and the generally critical content of his paper, and imprisoned him at Zara Prison in the Western lowlands of Eritrea, exiled Eritrean journalists told CPJ.

In February 2007, CPJ established that one detainee, Fesshaye "Joshua" Yohannes, a co-founder of the newspaper Setit and a 2002 recipient of CPJ's International Press Freedom Award, had died in custody at the age of 47.

CPJ is seeking corroboration of successive reports that several of the remaining detainees may have died in custody. In August 2012, the international press freedom group Reporters Without Borders, citing a purported former prison guard, Eyob Habte, said Dawit Habtemichael and Mattewos Habteab had died at Eiraeiro. In 2010, the Ethiopian government-sponsored Radio Wegahta also cited a purported former Eritrean prison guard as saying that Mattewos had died at Eiraeiro. The same purported guard, Eyob Habte, also claimed Medhanie Haile had died in Eiraeiro Prison.

In August 2006, an un-bylined report on the Ethiopian pro-government website Aigaforum quoted 14 purported former Eiraeiro guards as reporting the deaths of prisoners whose names closely resembled Yusuf Mohamed Ali, Medhanie Haile, and Said Abdelkader. The details could not be independently confirmed, although CPJ sources considered it to be generally credible. In 2009, the London-based Eritrean opposition news site Assena published purported death certificates of Fesshaye, Yusuf, Medhanie, and Said.

CPJ continues to list the journalists on the prison census as a means of holding the government accountable for their fates. Relatives of the journalists have told CPJ that they maintain hope their loved ones are still alive.

CPJ emailed Eritrea's Information Ministry in October 2016 to request updates on Mattewos's case. The ministry did not respond.

Medhanie Haile, Keste Debena

Medium:
Print
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
September 2001

Medhanie is one of several journalists arrested after the government summarily banned the privately owned press on September 18, 2001, in response to growing criticism of President Isaias Afewerki. Eritrean authorities have never accounted for the whereabouts, health, or legal status of Medhanie and the others. CPJ has confirmed that at least one of the journalists has died in secret detention, and is investigating unconfirmed reports that others, including Medhanie, have also perished in custody.

Medhanie's paper was one of several that reported on divisions between reformers and conservatives within the ruling Party for Democracy and Justice and advocated for full implementation of the country's democratic constitution. A dozen top reformist officials, whose pro-democracy statements had been relayed by the independent newspapers, were also arrested.

Authorities initially detained the journalists at a police station in the capital, Asmara, where they began a hunger strike on March 31, 2002, and smuggled a message out of jail demanding due process. The government responded by transferring them to secret locations without bringing them before a court or publicly registering charges. Several CPJ sources said the journalists were confined at the Eiraeiro prison camp or at a military prison, Adi Abeito, based in Asmara.

The exact reasons behind the arrests of the journalists are not known. Local journalists said they suspected authorities arrested Seyoum Tsehaye, a photojournalist with Setit, for an interview he gave the paper in which he said the government was stifling press freedom. Seyoum was being held at Eiraeiro Prison, local journalists said.

Over the years, Eritrean officials have offered vague and inconsistent explanations for the arrests--accusing the journalists of involvement in anti-state conspiracies in connection with foreign intelligence, of skirting military service, and of violating press regulations. Officials, at times, even denied that the journalists existed. Meanwhile, shreds of often unverifiable, second- or third-hand information smuggled out of the country by people fleeing into exile have suggested the deaths of as many as five journalists in custody.

When asked in a June 2016 interview with Radio France International about the status of journalists and politicians arrested in 2001, Eritrean Foreign Affairs Minister Osman Saleh said "all of them are alive" and they "are in good hands." Asked if they would face trial, Osman said they would, "when the government decides" since members of the group are "political prisoners."

Some of the journalists had been jailed previously. Mattewos Habteab, who originally worked with Setit but later founded his own independent weekly, Mekaleh, had written an opinion piece showing the Eritrean governments' disdain for journalists during the country's war of independence (1961-1991). This led to his arrest and detention for several months at the "Track B" military prison in Asmara. Eritrean security forces arrested Tsigenay founder Yusuf Mohamed Ali on October 14, 2000, for his criticism of the government and the generally critical content of his paper, and imprisoned him at Zara Prison in the Western lowlands of Eritrea, exiled Eritrean journalists told CPJ.

In February 2007, CPJ established that one detainee, Fesshaye "Joshua" Yohannes, a co-founder of the newspaper Setit and a 2002 recipient of CPJ's International Press Freedom Award, had died in custody at the age of 47.

CPJ is seeking corroboration of successive reports that several of the remaining detainees may have died in custody. In August 2012, the international press freedom group Reporters Without Borders, citing a purported former prison guard, Eyob Habte, said Dawit Habtemichael and Mattewos Habteab had died at Eiraeiro. In 2010, the Ethiopian government-sponsored Radio Wegahta also cited a purported former Eritrean prison guard as saying that Mattewos had died at Eiraeiro. The same purported guard, Eyob Habte, also claimed Medhanie Haile had died in Eiraeiro Prison.

In August 2006, an un-bylined report on the Ethiopian pro-government website Aigaforum quoted 14 purported former Eiraeiro guards as reporting the deaths of prisoners whose names closely resembled Yusuf Mohamed Ali, Medhanie Haile, and Said Abdelkader. The details could not be independently confirmed, although CPJ sources considered it to be generally credible. In 2009, the London-based Eritrean opposition news site Assena published purported death certificates of Fesshaye, Yusuf, Medhanie, and Said.

CPJ continues to list the journalists on the prison census as a means of holding the government accountable for their fates. Relatives of the journalists have told CPJ that they maintain hope their loved ones are still alive.

CPJ emailed Eritrea's Information Ministry in October 2016 to request updates on Medhaine's case. The ministry did not respond.

Said Abdelkader, Admas

Medium:
Print
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
September 2001

Said is one of several journalists arrested after the government summarily banned the privately owned press on September 18, 2001, in response to growing criticism of President Isaias Afewerki. Eritrean authorities have never accounted for the whereabouts, health, or legal status of Said and the others. CPJ has confirmed that at least one of the journalists has died in secret detention, and is investigating unconfirmed reports that others, including Said, have also perished in custody.

Said's paper was one of several had reported on divisions between reformers and conservatives within the ruling Party for Democracy and Justice and advocated for full implementation of the country's democratic constitution. A dozen top reformist officials, whose pro-democracy statements had been relayed by the independent newspapers, were also arrested.

Authorities initially detained the journalists at a police station in the capital, Asmara, where they began a hunger strike on March 31, 2002, and smuggled a message out of jail demanding due process. The government responded by transferring them to secret locations without bringing them before a court or publicly registering charges. Several CPJ sources said the journalists were confined at the Eiraeiro prison camp or at a military prison, Adi Abeito, based in Asmara.

The exact reasons behind the arrests of the journalists are not known. Local journalists said they suspected authorities arrested Seyoum Tsehaye, a photojournalist with Setit, for an interview he gave the paper in which he said the government was stifling press freedom. Seyoum was being held at Eiraeiro Prison, local journalists said.

Over the years, Eritrean officials have offered vague and inconsistent explanations for the arrests--accusing the journalists of involvement in anti-state conspiracies in connection with foreign intelligence, of skirting military service, and of violating press regulations. Officials, at times, even denied that the journalists existed. Meanwhile, shreds of often unverifiable, second- or third-hand information smuggled out of the country by people fleeing into exile have suggested the deaths of as many as five journalists in custody.

When asked in a June 2016 interview with Radio France International about the status of journalists and politicians arrested in 2001, Eritrean Foreign Affairs Minister Osman Saleh said "all of them are alive" and they "are in good hands." Asked if they would face trial, Osman said they would, "when the government decides" since members of the group are "political prisoners."

Some of the journalists had been jailed previously. Mattewos Habteab, who originally worked with Setit but later founded his own independent weekly, Mekaleh, had written an opinion piece showing the Eritrean governments' disdain for journalists during the country's war of independence (1961-1991). This led to his arrest and detention for several months at the "Track B" military prison in Asmara. Eritrean security forces arrested Tsigenay founder Yusuf Mohamed Ali on October 14, 2000, for his criticism of the government and the generally critical content of his paper, and imprisoned him at Zara Prison in the Western lowlands of Eritrea, exiled Eritrean journalists told CPJ.

In February 2007, CPJ established that one detainee, Fesshaye "Joshua" Yohannes, a co-founder of the newspaper Setit and a 2002 recipient of CPJ's International Press Freedom Award, had died in custody at the age of 47.

CPJ is seeking corroboration of successive reports that several of the remaining detainees may have died in custody. In August 2012, the international press freedom group Reporters Without Borders, citing a purported former prison guard, Eyob Habte, said Dawit Habtemichael and Mattewos Habteab had died at Eiraeiro. In 2010, the Ethiopian government-sponsored Radio Wegahta also cited a purported former Eritrean prison guard as saying that Mattewos had died at Eiraeiro. The same purported guard, Eyob Habte, also claimed Medhanie Haile had died in Eiraeiro Prison.

In August 2006, an un-bylined report on the Ethiopian pro-government website Aigaforum quoted 14 purported former Eiraeiro guards as reporting the deaths of prisoners whose names closely resembled Yusuf Mohamed Ali, Medhanie Haile, and Said Abdelkader. The details could not be independently confirmed, although CPJ sources considered it to be generally credible. In 2009, the London-based Eritrean opposition news site Assena published purported death certificates of Fesshaye, Yusuf, Medhanie, and Said.

CPJ continues to list the journalists on the prison census as a means of holding the government accountable for their fates. Relatives of the journalists have told CPJ that they maintain hope their loved ones are still alive.

CPJ emailed Eritrea's Information Ministry in October 2016 to request updates on Said's case. The ministry did not respond.

Seyoum Tsehaye, Setit

Medium:
Print
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
September 2001

Seyoum is one of several journalists arrested after the government summarily banned the privately owned press on September 18, 2001, in response to growing criticism of President Isaias Afewerki. Eritrean authorities have never accounted for the whereabouts, health, or legal status of Seyoum and the others. CPJ has confirmed that at least one of the journalists has died in secret detention, and is investigating unconfirmed reports that others have also perished in custody.

The journalists' papers had reported on divisions between reformers and conservatives within the ruling Party for Democracy and Justice and advocated for full implementation of the country's democratic constitution. A dozen top reformist officials, whose pro-democracy statements had been relayed by the independent newspapers, were also arrested.

Authorities initially detained the journalists at a police station in the capital, Asmara, where they began a hunger strike on March 31, 2002, and smuggled a message out of jail demanding due process. The government responded by transferring them to secret locations without bringing them before a court or publicly registering charges. Several CPJ sources said the journalists were confined at the Eiraeiro prison camp or at a military prison, Adi Abeito, based in Asmara.

The exact reasons behind the arrests of the journalists are not known. Local journalists said they suspected authorities arrested Seyoum, a photojournalist with Setit, for an interview he gave the paper in which he said the government was stifling press freedom. Seyoum was being held at Eiraeiro Prison, local journalists said. A September 2016 report by Voice of America cited a prison guard, who fled in 2010, saying that Seyoum's hands were bound 24 hours a day. campaign for the photojournalist's release is being led by his niece, Vanessa Berhe, who lives in Sweden. CPJ emailed One Day Seyoum, an online campaign for Seyoum's release, but by late 2016 had not received a response.

Over the years, Eritrean officials have offered vague and inconsistent explanations for the arrests--accusing the journalists of involvement in anti-state conspiracies in connection with foreign intelligence, of skirting military service, and of violating press regulations. Officials, at times, even denied that the journalists existed. Meanwhile, shreds of often unverifiable, second- or third-hand information smuggled out of the country by people fleeing into exile have suggested the deaths of as many as five journalists in custody.

When asked in a June 2016 interview with Radio France International about the status of journalists and politicians arrested in 2001, Eritrean Foreign Affairs Minister Osman Saleh said "all of them are alive" and they "are in good hands." Asked if they would face trial, Osman said they would, "when the government decides" since members of the group are "political prisoners."

Some of the journalists had been jailed previously. Mattewos Habteab, who originally worked with Setit but later founded his own independent weekly, Mekaleh, had written an opinion piece showing the Eritrean governments' disdain for journalists during the country's war of independence (1961-1991). This led to his arrest and detention for several months at the "Track B" military prison in Asmara. Eritrean security forces arrested Tsigenay founder Yusuf Mohamed Ali on October 14, 2000, for his criticism of the government and the generally critical content of his paper, and imprisoned him at Zara Prison in the Western lowlands of Eritrea, exiled Eritrean journalists told CPJ.

In February 2007, CPJ established that one detainee, Fesshaye "Joshua" Yohannes, a co-founder of the newspaper Setit and a 2002 recipient of CPJ's International Press Freedom Award, had died in custody at the age of 47.

CPJ is seeking corroboration of successive reports that several of the remaining detainees may have died in custody. In August 2012, the international press freedom group Reporters Without Borders, citing a purported former prison guard, Eyob Habte, said Dawit Habtemichael and Mattewos Habteab had died at Eiraeiro. In 2010, the Ethiopian government-sponsored Radio Wegahta also cited a purported former Eritrean prison guard as saying that Mattewos had died at Eiraeiro. The same purported guard, Eyob Habte, also claimed Medhanie Haile had died in Eiraeiro Prison.

In August 2006, an un-bylined report on the Ethiopian pro-government website Aigaforum quoted 14 purported former Eiraeiro guards as reporting the deaths of prisoners whose names closely resembled Yusuf Mohamed Ali, Medhanie Haile, and Said Abdelkader. The details could not be independently confirmed, although CPJ sources considered it to be generally credible. In 2009, the London-based Eritrean opposition news site Assena published purported death certificates of Fesshaye, Yusuf, Medhanie, and Said.

CPJ continues to list the journalists on the prison census as a means of holding the government accountable for their fates. Relatives of the journalists have told CPJ that they maintain hope their loved ones are still alive.

CPJ emailed Eritrea's Information Ministry in October 2016 to request updates on Seyoum's case. The ministry did not respond.

Temesgen Ghebreyesus, Keste Debena

Medium:
Print
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
September 2001

Temesgen is one of several journalists arrested after the government summarily banned the privately owned press on September 18, 2001, in response to growing criticism of President Isaias Afewerki. Eritrean authorities have never accounted for the whereabouts, health, or legal status of Temesgen and the others. CPJ has confirmed that at least one of the journalists has died in secret detention, and is investigating unconfirmed reports that others have also perished in custody.

Temesgen's paper was one of several that had reported on divisions between reformers and conservatives within the ruling Party for Democracy and Justice and advocated for full implementation of the country's democratic constitution. A dozen top reformist officials, whose pro-democracy statements had been relayed by the independent newspapers, were also arrested.

Authorities initially detained the journalists at a police station in the capital, Asmara, where they began a hunger strike on March 31, 2002, and smuggled a message out of jail demanding due process. The government responded by transferring them to secret locations without bringing them before a court or publicly registering charges. Several CPJ sources said the journalists were confined at the Eiraeiro prison camp or at a military prison, Adi Abeito, based in Asmara.

The exact reasons behind the arrests of the journalists are not known. Local journalists said they suspected authorities arrested Seyoum Tsehaye, a photojournalist with Setit, for an interview he gave the paper in which he said the government was stifling press freedom. Seyoum was being held at Eiraeiro Prison, local journalists said.

Over the years, Eritrean officials have offered vague and inconsistent explanations for the arrests--accusing the journalists of involvement in anti-state conspiracies in connection with foreign intelligence, of skirting military service, and of violating press regulations. Officials, at times, even denied that the journalists existed. Meanwhile, shreds of often unverifiable, second- or third-hand information smuggled out of the country by people fleeing into exile have suggested the deaths of as many as five journalists in custody.

When asked in a June 2016 interview with Radio France International about the status of journalists and politicians arrested in 2001, Eritrean Foreign Affairs Minister Osman Saleh said "all of them are alive" and they "are in good hands." Asked if they would face trial, Osman said they would, "when the government decides" since members of the group are "political prisoners."

Some of the journalists had been jailed previously. Mattewos Habteab, who originally worked with Setit but later founded his own independent weekly, Mekaleh, had written an opinion piece showing the Eritrean governments' disdain for journalists during the country's war of independence (1961-1991). This led to his arrest and detention for several months at the "Track B" military prison in Asmara. Eritrean security forces arrested Tsigenay founder Yusuf Mohamed Ali on October 14, 2000, for his criticism of the government and the generally critical content of his paper, and imprisoned him at Zara Prison in the Western lowlands of Eritrea, exiled Eritrean journalists told CPJ.

In February 2007, CPJ established that one detainee, Fesshaye "Joshua" Yohannes, a co-founder of the newspaper Setit and a 2002 recipient of CPJ's International Press Freedom Award, had died in custody at the age of 47.

CPJ is seeking corroboration of successive reports that several of the remaining detainees may have died in custody. In August 2012, the international press freedom group Reporters Without Borders, citing a purported former prison guard, Eyob Habte, said Dawit Habtemichael and Mattewos Habteab had died at Eiraeiro. In 2010, the Ethiopian government-sponsored Radio Wegahta also cited a purported former Eritrean prison guard as saying that Mattewos had died at Eiraeiro. The same purported guard, Eyob Habte, also claimed Medhanie Haile had died in Eiraeiro Prison.

In August 2006, an un-bylined report on the Ethiopian pro-government website Aigaforum quoted 14 purported former Eiraeiro guards as reporting the deaths of prisoners whose names closely resembled Yusuf Mohamed Ali, Medhanie Haile, and Said Abdelkader. The details could not be independently confirmed, although CPJ sources considered it to be generally credible. In 2009, the London-based Eritrean opposition news site Assena published purported death certificates of Fesshaye, Yusuf, Medhanie, and Said.

CPJ continues to list the journalists on the prison census as a means of holding the government accountable for their fates. Relatives of the journalists have told CPJ that they maintain hope their loved ones are still alive.

CPJ emailed Eritrea's Information Ministry in October 2016 to request updates on Temesgen's case. The ministry did not respond.

Tesfay Gomorra, Setit

Medium:
Print
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
September 2001

Tesfay was a contributor to the independent weekly Setit. Local journalists who have gone into exile said authorities arrested Tesfay after a Setit piece published in August 2001 alleged that an interview published by the state-owned newspaper Haddas Ertra, had been faked.

In the article, Tesfay said Yemane Gebreab, the head of political affairs for Eritrea's ruling party, the People's Front for Democracy and Justice, had fabricated an interview with the party's secretary, Alamin Mohamed Said, in which the secretary criticized calls for political reform by an opposition group of veterans of Eritrea's war of independence.

Tesfay, who had close ties to staff at Haddas Erta, claimed in a column that the interview was a fabrication, according to Eritrean journalists in exile, who said they believe the column was the reason behind his arrest.

The exact date of the arrest is unknown. Authorities have not disclosed Tesfay's whereabouts or any charges against him, and his state of health is unknown.

Tesfay did not appear on CPJ's census of imprisoned journalists prior to 2014. His case only came to the organization's attention as part of a fresh investigation in 2014 into the status of long-held prisoners in Eritrea.

When asked in a June 2016 interview with Radio France International about the status of journalists and politicians arrested in 2001, Eritrean Foreign Affairs Minister Osman Saleh said "all of them are alive" and they "are in good hands." Asked if they would face trial, Osman said they would, "when the government decides" since members of the group are "political prisoners."

CPJ emailed the Eritrean Information Ministry in October 2016 to request an update in Tesfay's case. The ministry did not respond.

Yusuf Mohamed Ali, Tsigenay

Medium:
Print
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
September 2001

Yusuf is one of several journalists arrested after the government summarily banned the privately owned press on September 18, 2001, in response to growing criticism of President Isaias Afewerki. Eritrean authorities have never accounted for the whereabouts, health, or legal status of Yusuf and the others. CPJ has confirmed that at least one of the journalists has died in secret detention, and is investigating unconfirmed reports that others, including Yusuf, have also perished in custody.

Yusuf's paper was one of several that had reported on divisions between reformers and conservatives within the ruling Party for Democracy and Justice and advocated for full implementation of the country's democratic constitution. A dozen top reformist officials, whose pro-democracy statements had been relayed by the independent newspapers, were also arrested.

Authorities initially detained the journalists at a police station in the capital, Asmara, where they began a hunger strike on March 31, 2002, and smuggled a message out of jail demanding due process. The government responded by transferring them to secret locations without bringing them before a court or publicly registering charges. Several CPJ sources said the journalists were confined at the Eiraeiro prison camp or at a military prison, Adi Abeito, based in Asmara.

The exact reasons behind the arrests of the journalists are not known. Local journalists said they suspected authorities arrested Seyoum Tsehaye, a photojournalist with Setit, for an interview he gave the paper in which he said the government was stifling press freedom. Seyoum was being held at Eiraeiro Prison, local journalists said.

Over the years, Eritrean officials have offered vague and inconsistent explanations for the arrests--accusing the journalists of involvement in anti-state conspiracies in connection with foreign intelligence, of skirting military service, and of violating press regulations. Officials, at times, even denied that the journalists existed. Meanwhile, shreds of often unverifiable, second- or third-hand information smuggled out of the country by people fleeing into exile have suggested the deaths of as many as five journalists in custody.

When asked in a June 2016 interview with Radio France International about the status of journalists and politicians arrested in 2001, Eritrean Foreign Affairs Minister Osman Saleh said "all of them are alive" and they "are in good hands." Asked if they would face trial, Osman said they would, "when the government decides" since members of the group are "political prisoners."

Yusuf had been jailed previously. Eritrean security forces arrested the Tsigenay founder on October 14, 2000, for his criticism of the government and the generally critical content of his paper, and imprisoned him at Zara Prison in the Western lowlands of Eritrea, exiled Eritrean journalists told CPJ. Mattewos Habteab, who originally worked with Setit but later founded his own independent weekly, Mekaleh, was also jailed previously after writing an opinion piece showing the Eritrean governments' disdain for journalists during the country's war of independence (1961-1991). This led to his arrest and detention for several months at the "Track B" military prison in Asmara.

In February 2007, CPJ established that one detainee, Fesshaye "Joshua" Yohannes, a co-founder of the newspaper Setit and a 2002 recipient of CPJ's International Press Freedom Award, had died in custody at the age of 47.

CPJ is seeking corroboration of successive reports that several of the remaining detainees may have died in custody. In August 2012, the international press freedom group Reporters Without Borders, citing a purported former prison guard, Eyob Habte, said Dawit Habtemichael and Mattewos Habteab had died at Eiraeiro. In 2010, the Ethiopian government-sponsored Radio Wegahta also cited a purported former Eritrean prison guard as saying that Mattewos had died at Eiraeiro. The same purported guard, Eyob Habte, also claimed Medhanie Haile had died in Eiraeiro Prison.

In August 2006, an un-bylined report on the Ethiopian pro-government website Aigaforum quoted 14 purported former Eiraeiro guards as reporting the deaths of prisoners whose names closely resembled Yusuf Mohamed Ali, Medhanie Haile, and Said Abdelkader. The details could not be independently confirmed, although CPJ sources considered it to be generally credible. In 2009, the London-based Eritrean opposition news site Assena published purported death certificates of Fesshaye, Yusuf, Medhanie, and Said.

CPJ continues to list the journalists on the prison census as a means of holding the government accountable for their fates. Relatives of the journalists have told CPJ that they maintain hope their loved ones are still alive.

CPJ emailed Eritrea's Information Ministry in October 2016 to request updates on the journalists' cases. The ministry did not respond.

Dawit Isaac, Setit

Medium:
Print
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
September 23, 2001

Dawit, co-founder of the newspaper Setit, was one of 10 prominent journalists imprisoned in the September 2001 government crackdown on the independent press. In April 2002, Dawit was reportedly hospitalized because of torture. According to his brother, Esayas Issak, he was once again released on November 19, 2005, for medical reasons, but was detained after two days.

Dawit, who has dual Eritrean and Swedish citizenship, has drawn considerable international attention, particularly in Sweden, where members of his family, including his brother, Esayas, live. He has won numerous awards and prizes after his arrest, including the Golden Pen of Freedom Award of the World Association of Newspapers.

When asked about Dawit's crime in a May 2009 interview with Swedish freelance journalist Donald Boström, Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki said, "I don't know," before asserting that the journalist had made "a big mistake," without offering details. The president dismissed the issue of Dawit being tried, stating, "We will not have any trial and we will not free him." Isaias also said that since Dawit was Eritrean first, "the involvement of Sweden is irrelevant. ... The Swedish government has nothing to do with this."

In August 2010, Yemane Gebreab, a senior presidential adviser, said in an interview with Swedish daily Aftonbladet that Dawit was being held for "very serious crimes regarding Eritrea's national security and survival as an independent state."

In a January 2013 interview with a Swedish newspaper, former information minister and government spokesman Ali Abdu pleaded ignorance of Dawit's fate.

In September 2011, on the 10th anniversary of Dawit's imprisonment, the European Parliament adopted a resolution expressing "fears for the life" of Dawit, calling for his release, and urging the European Council to consider targeted sanctions against relevant top Eritrean officials. In September 2014, the European Union issued a statement calling for Dawit's immediate release and citing Eritrea's violation of international and domestic obligations regarding human rights.

On June 20 2016, Eritrean Foreign Affairs Minister Osman Saleh said in an interview with RFI that Dawit and the other journalists and politicians arrested in 2001 were alive and "in good hands." The minister offered no further details other than saying that the government would bring Dawit to trial "any time, when the government decides." Asked why the decision was up to the government rather than an independent judiciary, he said, "We do have an independent justice, but this is political prisoners, and the government is dealing with them."

Media organizations including the International Press Institute demanded that the government prove its claims that Dawit is alive by releasing him. CPJ emailed the Eritrean Information Ministry in October 2016 to request comment on his case. The ministry did not respond.

Saleh Aljazeeri, Eri-TV

Medium:
Television
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
February 2002

Aljazeeri, a journalist for the Arabic desk of the state broadcaster Eri-TV, was arrested in February 2002 for unknown reasons, although local journalists now in exile said they suspected the arrest was linked to his work. The journalists said they believed he was being held in Carceli prison in Asmara.

The exact date of the arrest is unknown. Authorities have not disclosed Aljazeeri's health status, whereabouts, or any charges against him.

While the government's motivation in imprisoning journalists is unknown in most cases, CPJ research has found that state media journalists work in a climate of intimidation and absolute control. In this context of extreme repression, CPJ considers journalists attempting to escape the country or in contact with third parties abroad as struggling for press freedom.

Aljazeeri did not appear on CPJ's census of imprisoned journalists prior to 2014. His case came to the organization's attention as part of a fresh investigation in 2014 into the status of long-held prisoners in Eritrea. CPJ emailed the Eritrean Information Ministry in October 2016 to request an update in his case. The ministry did not respond.

Hamid Mohammed Said, Eri-TV

Medium:
Television
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
February 15, 2002

Hamid, a reporter for the Arabic-language service of the government-controlled national broadcaster Eri-TV, was arrested without charge in connection with the government's crackdown on the press, which began in September 2001, according to CPJ sources.

In a July 2002 fact-finding mission to Asmara, the capital, a CPJ delegation learned from local sources that Hamid was among three state media reporters arrested. At least one of the journalists, Saadia Ahmed, was later released, but Hamid was being held in an undisclosed location, CPJ was told.

The government has refused to respond to numerous inquiries from CPJ and other international organizations seeking information about Hamid's whereabouts, health, and legal status.

While the government's motivation in imprisoning journalists is unknown in most cases, CPJ research has found that state media journalists work in a climate of intimidation and absolute control. In this context of extreme repression, CPJ considers journalists attempting to escape the country or in contact with third parties abroad as struggling for press freedom.

In 2014, local journalists who had fled into exile told CPJ that Hamid was still in prison. CPJ emailed the Eritrean Information Ministry in October 2016 to request an update in his case. The ministry did not respond.

Ahmed Usman, Dimtsi Hafash

Medium:
Radio
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
February or March 2011

Ahmed was one of several journalists working for the government-controlled radio station ("Voice of the Masses") arrested in early 2011, according to CPJ sources. Authorities did not disclose the basis of the arrests. Local journalists told CPJ one of the journalists, Eyob Kessete, was released after several weeks in prison. Eyob, who worked for the Amharic-language service of Dimtsi Hafash, was arrested on allegations that he had helped others flee the country.

The reporters worked for different services of Dimtsi Hafash: Ahmed for the Tigrayan-language service, Nebiel for the Amharic-language service, and Mohamed for the Bilen-language service. CPJ emailed the Eritrean Information Ministry in October 2016 to request an update in the journalists' cases. The ministry did not respond.

While the government's motivation in imprisoning the journalists is unknown in most cases, CPJ research has found that state media journalists work in a climate of intimidation, retaliation, and absolute control. In this context of extreme repression, CPJ considers journalists attempting to escape the country or in contact with third parties abroad as struggling for press freedom.

Mohamed Osman, Dimtsi Hafash

Medium:
Radio
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
February or March 2011

Mohamed was one of several journalists working for the government-controlled radio station ("Voice of the Masses") arrested in early 2011, according to CPJ sources. Authorities did not disclose the basis of the arrests. Local journalists told CPJ one of the journalists, Eyob Kessete, was released after several weeks in prison. Eyob, who worked for the Amharic-language service of Dimtsi Hafash, was arrested on allegations that he had helped others flee the country.

The reporters worked for different services of Dimtsi Hafash: Mohamed for the Bilen-language service, Nebiel for the Amharic-language service, and Ahmed for the Tigrayan-language service. CPJ emailed the Eritrean Information Ministry in October 2016 to request an update in the journalists' cases. The ministry did not respond.

While the government's motivation in imprisoning the journalists is unknown in most cases, CPJ research has found that state media journalists work in a climate of intimidation, retaliation, and absolute control. In this context of extreme repression, CPJ considers journalists attempting to escape the country or in contact with third parties abroad as struggling for press freedom.

Nebiel Idris, Dimtsi Hafash

Medium:
Radio
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
February or March 2011

Nebiel was one of several journalists working for the government-controlled radio station ("Voice of the Masses") arrested in early 2011, according to CPJ sources. Authorities did not disclose the basis of the arrests. Local journalists told CPJ one of the journalists, Eyob Kessete, was released after several weeks in prison. Eyob, who worked for the Amharic-language service of Dimtsi Hafash, was arrested on allegations that he had helped others flee the country.

The reporters worked for different services of Dimtsi Hafash: Nebiel for the Amharic-language service, Ahmed for the Tigrayan-language service, and Mohamed for the Bilen-language service. CPJ emailed the Eritrean Information Ministry in October 2016 to request an update in the journalists' cases. The ministry did not respond.

While the government's motivation in imprisoning the journalists is unknown in most cases, CPJ research has found that state media journalists work in a climate of intimidation, retaliation, and absolute control. In this context of extreme repression, CPJ considers journalists attempting to escape the country or in contact with third parties abroad as struggling for press freedom.

Amanuel Asrat, Zemen

Medium:
Print
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
September, 2001

Amanuel is one of several journalists arrested after the government summarily banned the privately owned press on September 18, 2001, in response to growing criticism of President Isaias Afewerki. Eritrean authorities have never accounted for the whereabouts, health, or legal status of Amanuel and the others. CPJ has confirmed that at least one of the journalists has died in secret detention, and is investigating unconfirmed reports that others have also perished in custody.

Amanuel's paper was one of several that reported on divisions between reformers and conservatives within the ruling Party for Democracy and Justice and advocated for full implementation of the country's democratic constitution. A dozen top reformist officials, whose pro-democracy statements had been relayed by the independent newspapers, were also arrested.

Authorities initially detained the journalists at a police station in the capital, Asmara, where they began a hunger strike on March 31, 2002, and smuggled a message out of jail demanding due process. The government responded by transferring them to secret locations without bringing them before a court or publicly registering charges. Several CPJ sources said the journalists were confined at the Eiraeiro prison camp or at a military prison, Adi Abeito, based in Asmara.

The exact reasons behind the arrests of the journalists are not known. Local journalists said they suspected authorities arrested Seyoum Tsehaye, a photojournalist with Setit, for an interview he gave the paper in which he said the government was stifling press freedom.

Over the years, Eritrean officials have offered vague and inconsistent explanations for the arrests--accusing the journalists of involvement in anti-state conspiracies in connection with foreign intelligence, of skirting military service, and of violating press regulations. Officials, at times, even denied that the journalists existed. Meanwhile, shreds of often unverifiable, second- or third-hand information smuggled out of the country by people fleeing into exile have suggested the deaths of as many as five journalists in custody.

When asked in a June 2016 interview with Radio France International about the status of journalists and politicians arrested in 2001, Eritrean Foreign Affairs Minister Osman Saleh said "all of them are alive" and they "are in good hands." Asked if they would face trial, Osman said they would, "when the government decides" since members of the group are "political prisoners."

Some of the journalists had been jailed previously. Mattewos Habteab, who originally worked with Setit but later founded his own independent weekly, Mekaleh, had written an opinion piece showing the Eritrean governments' disdain for journalists during the country's war of independence (1961-1991). This led to his arrest and detention for several months at the "Track B" military prison in Asmara. Eritrean security forces arrested Tsigenay founder Yusuf Mohamed Ali on October 14, 2000, for his criticism of the government and the generally critical content of his paper, and imprisoned him at Zara Prison in the Western lowlands of Eritrea, exiled Eritrean journalists told CPJ.

In February 2007, CPJ established that one detainee, Fesshaye "Joshua" Yohannes, a co-founder of the newspaper Setit and a 2002 recipient of CPJ's International Press Freedom Award, had died in custody at the age of 47.

CPJ is seeking corroboration of successive reports that several of the remaining detainees may have died in custody. In August 2012, the international press freedom group Reporters Without Borders, citing a purported former prison guard, Eyob Habte, said Dawit Habtemichael and Mattewos Habteab had died at Eiraeiro. In 2010, the Ethiopian government-sponsored Radio Wegahta also cited a purported former Eritrean prison guard as saying that Mattewos had died at Eiraeiro. The same purported guard, Eyob Habte, also claimed Medhanie Haile had died in Eiraeiro Prison.

In August 2006, an un-bylined report on the Ethiopian pro-government website Aigaforum quoted 14 purported former Eiraeiro guards as reporting the deaths of prisoners whose names closely resembled Yusuf Mohamed Ali, Medhanie Haile, and Said Abdelkader. The details could not be independently confirmed, although CPJ sources considered it to be generally credible. In 2009, the London-based Eritrean opposition news site Assena published purported death certificates of Fesshaye, Yusuf, Medhanie, and Said.

CPJ continues to list the journalists on the prison census as a means of holding the government accountable for their fates. Relatives of the journalists have told CPJ that they maintain hope their loved ones are still alive.

CPJ emailed Eritrea's Information Ministry in October 2016 to request updates on Amanuel's case. The ministry did not respond.

^ Show all country summaries

Ethiopia: 16

Saleh Idris Gama, Eri-TV

Medium:
Television
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
December 2006

Saleh, a cameraman, for Eritrea's state broadcaster Eri-TV, was arrested along with Tesfalidet, a producer, in late 2006 on the Kenya-Somalia border during Ethiopia's invasion of southern Somalia.

The Ethiopian Foreign Ministry first disclosed the detention of the journalists in April 2007 and presented them on state television as part of a group of 41 captured terrorism suspects. Though Eritrea often conscripted journalists into military service, the video did not present any evidence linking the journalists to military activity. The ministry pledged to subject some of the suspects to military trials but did not identify them by name. In a September 2011 press conference with exiled Eritrean journalists in Addis Ababa, the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said Saleh and Tesfalidet would be freed if investigations determined they were not involved in espionage, according to news reports and journalists who participated in the press conference.

By late 2016, Tesfalidet and Saleh's case had not been tried and Ethiopian authorities had not disclosed details about the legal proceedings against them, according to local journalists with whom CPJ spoke. CPJ contacted Ethiopia's Information Ministry in late October for comment about the legal status and health of the journalists. The ministry did not respond.

Tesfalidet Kidane Tesfazghi, Eri-TV

Medium:
Television
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
December 2006

Tesfalidet, a producer for Eritrea's state broadcaster Eri-TV, was arrested along with Saleh, a cameraman, in late 2006 on the Kenya-Somalia border during Ethiopia's invasion of southern Somalia.

The Ethiopian Foreign Ministry first disclosed the detention of the journalists in April 2007 and presented them on state television as part of a group of 41 captured terrorism suspects. Though Eritrea often conscripted journalists into military service, the video did not present any evidence linking the journalists to military activity. The ministry pledged to subject some of the suspects to military trials but did not identify them by name. In a September 2011 press conference with exiled Eritrean journalists in Addis Ababa, the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said Saleh and Tesfalidet would be freed if investigations determined they were not involved in espionage, according to news reports and journalists who participated in the press conference.

By late 2016, Tesfalidet and Saleh's case had not been tried and Ethiopian authorities had not disclosed details about the legal proceedings against them, according to local journalists with whom CPJ spoke. CPJ contacted Ethiopia's Information Ministry in late October for comment about the legal status and health of the journalists. The ministry did not respond.

Woubshet Taye, Awramba Times

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
June 19, 2011

Police arrested Woubshet, deputy editor of the independent weekly Awramba Times, after raiding his home in the capital, Addis Ababa, and confiscating documents, cameras, CDs, and selected copies of the newspaper, according to local journalists. The outlet's top editor, CPJ International Press Freedom Awardee Dawit Kebede, fled the country in November 2011 in fear of being arrested; the newspaper is published online from exile.

Government spokesman Shimelis Kemal said Woubshet was among several people accused of planning terrorist attacks on infrastructure, telecommunications, and power lines with the support of an unnamed international terrorist group and Ethiopia's neighbor, Eritrea, according to news reports. In January 2012, a court in Addis Ababa sentenced Woubshet to 14 years in prison, news reports said.

CPJ believes Woubshet's conviction was in reprisal for Awramba Times' critical coverage of the government. Prior to his arrest, Woubshet had written a column criticizing what he saw as the ruling party's tactics of weakening and dividing the media and the opposition, Dawit told CPJ. Woubshet had been targeted in the past. He was detained for a week in November 2005 during the government's crackdown on news coverage of unrest that followed disputed elections.

Woubshet did not appeal his conviction and applied for a pardon, according to local journalists. In August 2013, the Ethiopian Ministry of Justice rejected the request for a pardon, the Awramba Times reported.

Authorities have transferred Woubshet between several prisons, including the remote detention facility in the town of Ziway, about 83 miles southeast of the capital, according to local journalists and the Awramba Times. At Ziway, prison officials placed him in a section for political prisoners known as "chelema bete," Amharic for "dark and closed," where communication and access to open air are limited, according to local journalists and family members who visited him. In February 2014, prison authorities transferred him temporarily to solitary confinement for releasing a letter describing prison conditions, which was published in the privately owned newspaper Ethio-Midhar.

Local journalists said Woubshet contracted a kidney infection while in Ziway, likely by drinking contaminated water. In October 2014, authorities transferred him to Kality Prison in Addis Ababa, where he finally received medical treatment.

Woubshet published a book of essays written in prison called The Voice of Freedom in September 2014, which included details of his trial and the challenges Ethiopian journalists face. Police authorities restricted visits by friends and family after the book was released, local journalists said.

In October 2013, Woubshet was honored with the Free Press Africa Award at the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards in Cape Town, South Africa. Woubshet is currently held at Ziway Prison, according to journalists living in exile who track his case. CPJ contacted Ethiopia's Information Ministry in late October for comment. The ministry did not respond.

Eskinder Nega, EthioMedia

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
September 14, 2011

Ethiopian security forces arrested Eskinder, a prominent online columnist and former publisher and editor of now-shuttered newspapers, on vague accusations of involvement in a terrorism plot. The arrest came five days after Eskinder published a column on the U.S.-based news website EthioMedia that criticized the government for misusing the country's sweeping anti-terrorism law to jail prominent journalists and dissident intellectuals.

CPJ believes the charges are part of a pattern of government persecution of Eskinder in reprisal for his coverage. In 2011, police detained Eskinder and threatened him in connection with his online columns that drew comparisons between the Egyptian uprising and Ethiopia's 2005 pro-democracy protests, according to news reports. His coverage of the Ethiopian government's repression of the 2005 protests landed him in jail for 17 months on anti-state charges at the time. After his release in 2007, authorities banned his newspapers and denied him licenses to start new ones. He was first arrested in September 1993 in connection with his articles in the Amharic weekly Ethiopia, one of the country's first independent newspapers, about the government's crackdown on dissent in Western Ethiopia, according to CPJ research.

Shortly after Eskinder's 2011 arrest, state television portrayed the journalist as a spy for "foreign forces" and accused him of having links with the banned opposition movement Ginbot 7, which the Ethiopian government designated a terrorist entity. In an interview with Agence France-Presse, government spokesman Shimelis Kemal accused the detainee of plotting "a series of terrorist acts that would likely wreak havoc." Eskinder consistently proclaimed his innocence, but was convicted on the basis of a video of a public town hall meeting in which he discussed the possibility of a popular uprising in Ethiopia if the ruling party did not deliver democratic reform, according to reports.

In July 2012, a federal high court judge in Addis Ababa sentenced Eskinder to 18 years in prison, according to local journalists and news reports. Five exiled journalists were convicted in absentia at the same time.

Also in 2012, a U.N. panel found that Eskinder's imprisonment was "a result of his peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression," according to a report published in April 2013.

In May 2013, Ethiopia's Supreme Court rejected an appeal and upheld the sentence.

In January 2014, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers awarded him its annual Golden Pen of Freedom award.

An open letter, said to have been written by the journalist, was published on blogs in February 2016. Eskinder was still being held at Kality Prison in Addis Ababa, with restricted visits from family, journalists living in exile, who track the case, told CPJ. Ethiopian Satellite TV, an independent station run by Ethiopians in exile, cited a recently released inmate saying Eskinder had been subjected to psychological harassment, including the confiscation of his Bible and notebooks.

Temesghen Desalegn, Feteh

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State, Defamation, False News
Imprisoned:
February 2013

The Federal High Court in the capital, Addis Ababa, convicted magazine owner Temesghen on October 13, 2014, of incitement, defamation, and false publication in connection with a 2012 defamation case, according to local journalists and news reports. On October 27, 2014, a court sentenced Temesghen to three years' imprisonment, according to news reports. He is being held at the remote Ziway Prison, about 83 miles southeast of the capital, journalists living in exile, who track his case, told CPJ. The conviction stemmed from a series of opinion pieces published in Temesghen's former news magazine Feteh ("Justice") in 2012, according to the charge sheet reviewed by CPJ. The articles discussed the peaceful struggle of Ethiopian youth movements for political change, and two columns criticized alleged government efforts to violently suppress student protests and ethnic minorities, according to the charge sheet.

The court also charged in absentia Mastewal Birhanu, the former publisher of Feteh, with inciting the public to violence by printing the magazine, according to the charge sheet.

Authorities briefly arrested Temesghen on August 23, 2012, in relation to the same articles but dropped the charges and released the journalist five days later, according to news reports. In February 2013, a judge in the Federal High Court re-instated the charges without explanation. State prosecutors had announced in December 2012 that they would re-file unspecified charges against him, Temesghen told CPJ.

The government also ordered printers to block the distribution of Feteh in July 2012 in connection with a series of articles about the former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's health, local journalists said. Authorities blocked three other subsequent publications started by Temesghen, including Addis Times, Le'ilena ("Magnanimity"), and the latest, Fact, according to CPJ research.

The last edition of Fact was published in September 2014, local journalists told CPJ. In August 2014, the Justice Ministry accused Fact and five other independent weekly publications of inciting violence, publishing false news, and undermining public confidence in the government. All of the publications ceased printing.

In March 2015, CPJ learned that Temesghen had been denied essential medical care. Sources close to Temesghen told CPJ that because has denied care for existing stomach and back problems, Temesghen now has difficulty walking. Prison guards have denied Temesghen prison visits from anyone except his mother and brother, local journalists told CPJ.

Zelalem Workagegnehu, De Birhan

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 8, 2014

Authorities arrested Zelalem at his home in the capital, Addis Ababa, on July 8, 2014 during a mass arrest of opposition leaders and social media activists, exiled Ethiopian journalists told CPJ. On October 31, 2014, Ethiopia's Federal High Court charged Zelalem under the 2009 anti-terrorism law for having links to the Diaspora-based opposition group Ginbot 7 and for applying to attend a journalism training course, local journalists and reports said. No evidence was provided regarding his alleged links to the opposition group, local journalists added.

Zelalem, an active blogger who routinely contributed to the news website De Birhan and other websites, was working with exiled Ethiopian journalists to organize a journalism training course for himself and two of his colleagues, local journalists said. Zelalem and his colleagues had plans to launch a similar blog site to that of the Zone 9 bloggers who were arrested in April the same year, the same journalists told CPJ.

Zelalem was studying for a Masters in public administration at Addis Ababa University at the time of his arrest. In May 2016, Zelalem was sentenced to five years and four months in prison on vague anti-terror charges according to press reports. Journalists living in exile, who follow his case, told CPJ that Zelalem was initially held in Kilinto prison but they believe he has been transferred to Ziway prison.

Darsema Sori, Radio Bilal

Medium:
Radio
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
February 18, 2015

Authorities arrested Darsema, from the faith-based Radio Bilal, alongside his colleague, Khalid Mohammed, on February 18, 2015 after police called them in for questioning, local journalists said. On August 17, 2015, the two were charged along with 18 other defendants under the 2009 anti-terrorism law, accused of inciting extremist ideology and planning to overthrow the government and replace it with an Islamic government, according to news reports citing the charge sheet.

Darsema and Khalid's trial was ongoing in late 2016, according to media reports.

Darsema worked as senior editor at Radio Bilal, local journalists said. Darsema had also been a columnist for the now-defunct Ye Muslimoch Guday ("Muslim Affairs") magazine, local journalists told CPJ. The magazine ceased publishing in July 2012 after two of its editors went into hiding, local journalists said.

Darsema and Khalid extensively covered protests by the Ethiopian Muslim community that began in 2012 to condemn government interference in Islamic affairs, including the government closing of Awoliya College, the country's only Muslim college, in 2011. Authorities claimed the institution was training Islamic radicals, according to news reports. Ethiopian authorities have since sought to silence the demonstrations by arresting protesters, community leaders, and independent reporters, and by shutting down news outlets, according to international news reports and CPJ research.

Darsema and Khalid have been imprisoned by authorities before. On August 2, 2013, they were arrested and held without charge for almost five months. Although no reason was provided, former Radio Bilal Chairman Mohammed Hassen said he believed the journalists were arrested for their extensive coverage and support of the Muslim protests.

Darsema and Khalid were being held at Kilinto Prison in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Khalid Mohammed, Radio Bilal

Medium:
Radio
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
February 18, 2015

Authorities arrested Khaldid, from the faith-based Radio Bilal, alongside his colleague, Darsema Sori, on February 18, 2015 after police called them in for questioning, local journalists said. On August 17, 2015, the two were charged along with 18 other defendants under the 2009 anti-terrorism law, accused of inciting extremist ideology and planning to overthrow the government and replace it with an Islamic government, according to news reports citing the charge sheet.

Darsema and Khalid's trial was ongoing in late 2016, according to media reports.

Khalid worked for Radio Bilal as the news editor, local journalists said. Khalid and Darsema extensively covered protests by the Ethiopian Muslim community that began in 2012 to condemn government interference in Islamic affairs, including the government closing of Awoliya College, the country's only Muslim college, in 2011. Authorities claimed the institution was training Islamic radicals, according to news reports. Ethiopian authorities have since sought to silence the demonstrations by arresting protesters, community leaders, and independent reporters, and by shutting down news outlets, according to international news reports and CPJ research.

Khalid and Darsema have been imprisoned by authorities before. On August 2, 2013, they were arrested and held without charge for almost five months. Although no reason was provided, former Radio Bilal Chairman Mohammed Hassen said he believed the journalists were arrested for their extensive coverage and support of the Muslim protests.

Khalid and Darsema were being held at Kilinto Prison in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Getachew Shiferaw, Negere Ethiopia

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
December 25, 2015

Getachew, editor-in-chief of the online newspaper Negere Ethiopia, was arrested on December 25, 2015, amid a mass crackdown of journalists and activists opposed to a plan to extend the Ethiopian capital, according to news accounts.

Getachew was initially held at the Maekelawi federal police investigation center, where political detainees have been tortured and ill-treated, according to a 2013 report by Human Rights Watch.

Despite being brought before the courts several times, his case was postponed without charges being brought against him, the independent Addis Standard newspaper reported. After a court ordered his release after the four-month period in which Ethiopian law states a detainee must be charged, police charged him under the country's anti-terror law, according to media reports.

Negere Ethiopia is affiliated with the Blue Party, an opposition movement that has campaigned for greater political openness in Ethiopia, news reports said. The newspaper was forced to suspend its print edition in 2014, and now is distributed via social media. The outlet covers political trials, including proceedings against opposition politicians and journalists, co-founder of the Zone 9 blogging collective Soleyana S. Gebremichael told CPJ. It reported on calls by the Blue Party and the Oromo Federalist Party for a public demonstration to be held in late 2015, but for which authorities denied permission.

An Ethiopian journalist living in exile in Nairobi, who requested anonymity to due to fears of retaliation from Ethiopian authorities, told CPJ his contacts in Ethiopia indicated that Getachew was transferred to Kality prison, which hosts political prisoners, including several journalists. CPJ could not confirm where Getachew was being held in late 2016. Another journalist arrested in the same crackdown, Fikadu Mirkana, was charged under Ethiopia's anti-terror laws and released in April 2016, when charges were dropped, according to civil society campaign group, East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project.

Seyoum Teshome, Ethiothinktank

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
October 1, 2016

Seyoum, a blogger for the politics and business news website Ethiothinkthank, and a lecturer at the Ambo University campus in Woliso, about 110 kilometers (68 miles) southwest of capital Addis Ababa, was arrested by federal police who searched his home and took his computer, according to press accounts.

Seyoum regularly used his blog on Ethiothinktank to comment on current affairs, including anti-government protests. His posts also include a letter he wrote to the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn about protests in the town of Weliso, where he was based.

The arrest came days after Seyoum was quoted in a New York Times article about Ethiopian marathon runner Feyisa Lilesa, who crossed his arms in a sign of solidarity with anti-government protesters at the finish line of the men's marathon at the Rio Olympics.

International media frequently seek out Seyoum for comment on events in Ethiopia. In The New York Times article, Seyoum was quoted as saying the athlete's symbolic protest action had struck a blow against the Ethiopian government's carefully constructed image as a thriving developing state. "This was what the government was afraid of," he told the newspaper.

Seyoum had not been charged as of late 2016. An Ethiopian journalist who has been in touch with the blogger's relatives told CPJ that Seyoum is being held at the Woliso prison. CPJ contacted Ethiopia's Information Ministry in October 2016 to request an update in his case. The ministry did not respond.

Abebe Wube, Ye Qelem Qend

Medium:
Print
Charge:
No Charge
Imprisoned:
October 18, 2016

Abebe Wube, a former reporter and manager at the independent weekly newspaper Ye Qelem Qend, was arrested in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on October 18, 2016, the paper's owner and editor-in-chief Muluken Tesfaw, told CPJ.

Ethiopia's Command Post, the body overseeing a state of emergency declared October 9 in response to widespread anti-government protests, ordered the arrest, Muluken and Yared Hailemariam, the executive director of the Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia, said.

CPJ could not determine if Abebe had been charged by late 2016. Muluken said he believed the arrest related to anti-terror charges, which the government has used previously to silence critics. He said that on the day Abebe was arrested, police searched the journalist's home and removed copies of the newspaper.

Abebe was the manager of Ye Qelem Qend, and also wrote news articles and sourced photographs for the paper, Muluken said. Ye Qelem Qend focused on current affairs and human rights issues, including the plight of the Oromo and Amhara--two of the largest ethnic groups in Ethiopia--that led to protests in Ethiopia against decades of abuse, discrimination, and marginalization.

The paper closed in May 2016 when Muluken, who said he feared arrest, applied for asylum in Finland after attending Unesco's World Media Freedom Day, he told CPJ. The paper closed for a couple of weeks in late 2015 because of pressure from authorities, Yared told CPJ.

Abebe also interviewed witnesses and helped research details for Muluken's 2016 book Yetifet Zemen, on the plight of the Amhara people. His work is acknowledged alongside that of other journalists in the book.

Habtamu Assefa, an Ethiopian journalist living in exile in the U.S. who works for Hiber Radio in Las Vegas, told CPJ he interviewed Abebe about his coverage of unrest in Amhara before the newspaper ceased publication. "I interviewed him about the people who were displaced from the Sekota Awi zone in Amhara because of the famine ... and the police intimidation. The government denied the problem. He went there to interview them and take photos," said Habtamu. "He gave me an interview from there."

Habtamu said that when he interviewed Abebe a couple of months later, the journalist told him he had received death threats in July from what he described as three government security agents who harassed and verbally threatened him. He said he had also received telephone threats.

According to Muluken, security agents questioned Abebe in May 2016 for half a day about Muluken's whereabouts and why he was visiting Europe. Muluken said Abebe told him he feared he would be arrested during the crackdown on journalists, and went into hiding for several months. The journalist returned to Addis Ababa at the end of September to try to find work, Muluken said.

When CPJ requested comment from Ethiopia's communications minister Negeri Lencho, the minister directed CPJ to call the information director-general Mohammed Seid, who is authorized to comment on the matter. Mohammed did not return CPJ's calls and text messages in late 2016.

Muluken said that the journalist's wife, Eshet, told him Abebe was initially detained in a police station in Addis Ababa, but was later transferred to the Abwash Arba military center. She said she was able to talk to Abebe while he was at the police station and that he had appeared to be OK, although he said he had not been told what charges he was facing or why he had been arrested. His wife said she had been prevented from visiting Abebe at the military center, according to Muluken.

Befekadu Hailu, Zone 9

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
November 11, 2016

Security forces arrested Befekadu--a co-founder of the Zone 9 blogging collective--at his home on November 11, 2016, according to news reports. By the end of November 2016, authorities had not announced any charge against the blogger.

An Ethiopian journalist living in exile in Kenya, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, told CPJ that Befekadu's criticism on his blog of the government's handling of protests in the Oromo and Amhara regions of Ethiopia may have led to his detention.

The Africa News Agency quoted Befekadu's friends as saying they believed he was arrested in relation to an interview he gave to the Amharic service of the U.S.-government-funded Voice of America, in which he criticized authorities' handling of the large-scale anti-government protests.

Befekadu had anticipated his arrest, writing in a blog post after the government declared a state of emergency in October 2016 that he expected to be detained, according to Ethiopian diaspora media.

His arrest came during a renewed crackdown on the media and mass arrests. Security forces detained more than 11,000 people after declaring a six-month state of emergency on October 10, Taddesse Hordofa, of the Ethiopian government's State of Emergency Inquiry Board, said in a televised statement on November 12, 2016.

Befekadu has been detained before. He and the other Zone 9 bloggers, who were awarded CPJ's 2015 International Press Freedom Award, were acquitted of terrorism in October 2015, but Befekadu was told he still faced a charge of incitement, according to media reports. In late 2016, the incitement case was still pending. In late 2016, Ethiopia's Supreme Court was hearing prosecutors' appeal against the lower court's October 2015 acquittal of Befekadu and four other Zone 9 bloggers on the terrorism charges.

Getachew Worku, Ethio-Mihidar

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Defamation, False News
Imprisoned:
November 4, 2016

An Addis Ababa court on November 15 sentenced Getachew Worku, editor of the independent weekly newspaper Ethio-Mihidar, to one year in prison over an article alleging corruption in a monastery, the Addis Standard reported.

Getachew was accused of defaming the Saint Mary's patriarchal monastery by alleging that its leadership was linked to corruption, according to media reports. Prosecutors charged him with defamation and spreading false information under Article 613 of the Ethiopian criminal code, Africa News reported.

Getachew pleaded not guilty and will appeal, an exiled Ethiopian journalist who followed the case from Kenya and who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, told CPJ.

The journalist in Kenya, who has spoken with colleagues of Getachew, said the newspaper was ordered to print a correction and to publicize details of the court verdict in Getachew's case. CPJ was unable to determine if the correction and details of the verdict were published.

Getachew's reporting focuses on corruption in Ethiopian institutions. In November 2013, CPJ documented how Getachew and two colleagues were detained briefly over a report alleging corruption in Legetafo, a town northeast of Addis Ababa.

Getachew is being held at Qilinto prison.

Anania Sorri, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
November 17, 2016

Anania Sorri was detained November 17 in Addis Ababa on his way to tell friends he suspected he would be arrested, Enateyee Enat, a friend of the journalist who has followed his case closely from exile in the U.S., told CPJ.

Anania told Enateyee that he expected to be among those targeted under the six-month state of emergency declared on October 9, 2016 after months of unrest-particularly after his friend and fellow journalist, Eyouel Fisseha, was arrested, Enateyee told CPJ.

Anania frequently posts critical commentary on Ethiopian affairs on his public Facebook page, which has more than 11,000 followers. He is frequently interviewed about the situation in Ethiopia by international media, including Voice of America and Deutsche Welle, Enateyee said.

In 2015, Anania tried to publish a newspaper, Kedami Getse, as the managing editor, but he printed only one edition before authorities shut it down, Enateyee said. Ethiopian authorities frequently shut down independent publications, harass printing companies, and block websites, CPJ research shows.

Anania's arrest could be connected to an appearance on the pro-government Fana TV station on September 25, 2016, according to the journalist's colleagues and friends who spoke to CPJ. During the panel discussion, Anania blamed the ruling Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) for the country's problems, said Habtamu Assefa, an exiled Ethiopian journalist in the U.S.

A report on the Toronto-based online Ethiopian news and opinion Borkena website about the Fana TV appearance said Anania cited the TPLF's "lust for maintaining power at the expense of the existence of Ethiopia as a country," and said he was widely hailed for his bravery on social media.

According to Enateyee, the journalist was initially held at Gerji police station in Addis Ababa, where he was barred from communicating with his relatives, before being transferred to Megenagna prison where he was able to receive family visits.

As of November 30, 2016, no charges against Anania had been disclosed. Ethiopian Communications Minister Negeri Lencho did not respond to CPJ's requests for comment in late November 2016. A ministry spokesman, Mohamed Seid, also did not reply to requests for information.

Elias Gebru, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
November 17, 2016

Elias Gebru was arrested at the Romina Hotel in Addis Ababa on November 17, 2016, according to Enateyee Enat, a friend of the journalist who has followed his case closely from exile in the U.S. Elias was at the hotel to utilize its internet connection to post new information on social media about the jailed journalists Woubshet Taye and Temesgen Desalegn, Enateyee told CPJ.

Elias is the former editor-in-chief of the bi-weekly magazine Addis Getse--which closed earlier this year--and the independent news magazine Enku, which closed in 2014. Authorities issued a statement in 2014 accusing Enku and other independent outlets of spreading false information and inciting violence, according to reports. Elias was arrested in 2014 in relation to a column in Enku about a controversial monument to ethnic Oromos massacred in the 19th century, CPJ reported at the time. According to Habtamu Assefa, an exiled Ethiopian journalist in the U.S., Elias faces criminal defamation charges in connection to that column and has attended 23 court hearings in the case since November 2014. The next court date was scheduled for December 29, 2016, Habtamu said.

After the magazines closed, Elias used Facebook to post news about the situation in Ethiopia; his public Facebook page has more than 14,500 followers. Elias was critical on Facebook of the ruling TPLF (Tigray People's Liberation Front) and the state of emergency declared by authorities in October after months of unrest. Habtamu said Elias posted daily about harsh treatment of citizens and human rights abuses, including the detention of politicians and journalists.

Elias also gave frank commentary on Voice of America and on diaspora radio stations including Hiber based in Las Vegas, Enateyee told CPJ.

In a September 20, 2016 Facebook post, Elias said he had received emailed death threats from an unknown person, Habtamu told CPJ.

As of November 30, 2016, no new charges against Elias had been disclosed. Ethiopian Communications Minister Negeri Lencho did not respond to CPJ's requests for comment in late 2016.

Elias was in Megenagna prison in Addis Ababa. Friends who visited him told Enateyee that he was suffering from stomach cramps because of the dirty water in prison and that they suspected he had been beaten.

Eyoel Fisseha Damte, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
November 2, 2016

Eyoel Fisseha Damte was arrested on November 2, 2016, in relation to an argument in a bar, and granted bail by a court pending investigation, according to two Ethiopian journalists living in exile who have been following his case closely. But police, after discovering that he reported critically on Ethiopian authorities, refused to release him, telling Eyoel they were acting on the orders of the body overseeing Ethiopia's state of emergency, according to Soleyana Gebremichael and Dawit Solomon.

Authorities can detain a person without charge for the six-month duration of the state of emergency that was declared in October after months of unrest, Soleyana, a co-founder of the Zone 9 blogging collective, told CPJ.

Eyoel is a former co-editor of the newspapers Finot Netsanet and Addis Geth. He turned to Facebook and other outlets to report after the papers closed in 2015 and 2016, in part because of government pressure on the independent press in Ethiopia, Dawit told CPJ.

On his public Facebook page, Eyoel covered jailed politicians and journalists, prison conditions, and the state of emergency. CPJ was unable to view the Facebook page or determine the number of Eyoel's followers because it has been deactivated.

"He wrote about the torture inside Maekelaw interrogation center and he had also visited Zeway prison. After his return he wrote about jailed journalist Woubshet Taye's illness and hunger strike," Dawit said.

As of November 30, 2016, Eyoel had not been charged with a crime. He is at Woreda 19 police station in Addis Ababa, Dawit and Soleyana said. Enateyee Enat, a friend of the journalist who has followed his case closely from exile in the U.S., told CPJ that a friend who has visited him said he had been assaulted in custody

Ethiopian Communications Minister Negeri Lencho did not respond to CPJ's requests for comment sent via email and text messages. Ministry spokesman Mohamed Seid did not reply to CPJ's calls and text messages requesting comment.

^ Show all country summaries

Gambia: 3

Chief Ebrima Manneh, Daily Observer

Medium:
Print
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
July 7, 2006

Two plainclothes officers of the National Intelligence Agency arrested Manneh at the office of his newspaper, the pro-government Daily Observer, according to witnesses. The reason for the arrest was unclear, although some colleagues believe it was linked to his attempt to republish a BBC article critical of President Yahya Jammeh.

Despite dozens of inquiries from international organizations, the government has not provided a credible account of what happened to Manneh after he was taken into custody. In 2008, the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) ruled that Gambia had unlawfully seized Manneh and ordered his immediate release.

Sketchy and conflicting details have emerged about Manneh's whereabouts and health. Witnesses reported seeing Manneh in government custody in December 2006 and in July 2007, according to CPJ research. Agence France-Presse quoted an unnamed police official in 2009 as saying that Manneh had been spotted at Mile 2 Prison in 2008. But the official also speculated that Manneh was no longer alive, AFP reported.

In a nationally televised meeting with local media representatives in March 2011, Jammeh described Manneh as having died, but denied any government involvement in the journalist's fate. "Let me make it very clear that the government has nothing to do with the death of Chief Manneh," he said.

But Justice Minister Edward Gomez provided contradictory information just months later. In an October 2011 interview with the local newspaper Daily News, Gomez said that Manneh was alive. "Chief Ebrima Manneh is alive, and we will talk about this case later," Gomez told AFP in a subsequent interview.

In February 2012, Reuters reported that Jammeh had asked the United Nations to investigate Manneh's disappearance. "In response to civil society complaints about the disappearance of a journalist in the Gambia, the president of Gambia asked for the U.N. to come in and investigate," the U.N.'s then High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said, according to Reuters. In a subsequent interview with CPJ, a government spokesman denied having any knowledge of the request to the U.N.

On June 10, 2014, the ECOWAS court held that previous rulings against the Gambia, including in Manneh's case, proved the Gambian government was fostering a climate of impunity which in itself was a violation of freedom of expression.

In a statement in November 2014, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said that two U.N. special rapporteurs had been unable to complete their investigation into the legal protection of prisoners in the Gambia after the government denied them access to its prisons. The statement said the fact-finding mission was suspended.

CPJ could not determine any updates in his case in late 2016. Manneh's family did not immediately respond to an email sent by CPJ in October 2016, asking for comment.

Bakary Fatty, Gambia Radio and Television Services

Medium:
Television
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
November 8, 2016

On November 8 Gambia's National Intelligence Agency detained Bakary Fatty, an agriculture reporter with the state broadcaster Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS), and Momodou Sabally, the station's director-general, according to media reports. Gambian journalists told CPJ that as of late November 2016, no charges had been filed against Fatty.

Two Gambian journalists in exile and a third in Gambia, who spoke with CPJ on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, said authorities had given no reason for Fatty's detention as of late November 2016. The Gambian constitution requires that anyone arrested or detained be brought before a court within 72 hours. The journalists with whom CPJ spoke said that Fatty had not been given access to a lawyer.

Local activists told the advocacy organization Human Rights Watch they believe Sabally and Fatty were arrested because the state broadcaster aired footage of an opposition candidate's nomination on November 7 instead of an agricultural event organized by Gambian President Yahya Jammeh's wife held at the same time. The events came ahead of presidential elections scheduled for December 1. Sabally was fired from his role as director-general of the station the same day as the arrests, according to reports. An unnamed person cited in an article by the Fatu Network said Sabally was dismissed in relation to the coverage.

CPJ was unable to locate a number for GRTS to seek comment.

Gambian Information Minister Sheriff Bojang told CPJ in late November he did not know the reason for the arrests, and suggested that CPJ contact the inspector general of police. Calls to the publicly listed number for that office did not connect.

Fatty was being treated for an asthma attack at the time of his arrest, according to media reports. He has been denied access to his family or a lawyer, reports said. A member of the Gambia Press Union, who asked not to be named for fear of retribution, told CPJ Fatty does not have access to medical treatment.

Momodou Sabally, Gambia Radio and Television Services

Medium:
Radio, Television
Charge:
Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
November 8, 2016

Gambia's National Intelligence Agency detained Momodou Sabally, director-general of Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS), and Bakary Fatty, an agriculture reporter with the state broadcaster, on November 8, 2016, according to media reports. Sabally was fired from his government-appointed role as director-general at the station the same day, reports said.

Two Gambian journalists in exile and a third in Gambia, who spoke with CPJ on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, said authorities did not give any reason for Sabally and Fatty's detention within the stated time under Gambian law. The Gambian constitution requires that anyone arrested or detained be brought before a court within 72 hours.

Sabally was arraigned in court November 29, 2016, on charges related to alleged misconduct during his time as minister of presidential affairs. The charges read out in court--including abuse of office, negligence, and giving false information to President Yahya Jammeh--were the same as those in relation to which Sabally was detained for several months in 2014, according to media reports. Authorities dropped charges in that case in 2015, news reports said. In the hearing on November 29, Sabally told the court he would not enter a plea because the charges had been withdrawn. The case was adjourned.

Local activists told the advocacy organization Human Rights Watch they believe Sabally and Fatty were arrested because the state broadcaster aired footage of an opposition candidate's nomination on November 7 instead of an agricultural event organized by Gambian President Yahya Jammeh's wife held at the same time. The events came ahead of presidential elections scheduled December 1. An unnamed person cited in an article by the Fatu Network said Sabally was fired in relation to the coverage.

CPJ was unable to locate a number for GRTS to seek comment.

Gambian Information Minister Sheriff Bojang told CPJ in late November to contact the inspector general of police. Calls to the publicly listed phone number for that office did not connect.

^ Show all country summaries

India: 1

Santosh Yadav, Freelance

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State, Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
September 29, 2015

Police in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh arrested Yadav on what his colleagues said were fabricated charges brought in connection with his reporting on alleged human rights abuses by local authorities, according to news reports.

The freelance journalist, who is based in Bastar district, contributes reports and photos to several local, privately owned dailies including Dainik Navbharat, Patrika, and Dainik Chhattisgarh. He reported on alleged human rights abuses by the police against tribal communities in the region, according to his lawyer, Isha Khandelwal. Yadav also helps connect members of his community whose relatives are facing arrest to legal aid groups, reports said.

Police charged Yadav with rioting, criminal conspiracy, and attempted murder. He was also charged with "associating with a terrorist organization" and "supporting and aiding terrorist groups" under the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, according to the independent news website Scroll. Charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, a counterterrorism law, have also been brought against Yadav, according to Khandelwal. Police said Yadav had links to Maoists rebels and had participated in violence between police and Maoists on August 21, 2015, according to The Hindu.

Yadav's colleagues and his lawyer say the journalist was innocent. Khandelwal said Yadav was forced to sign a blank paper that the police have described in court and to the lawyer as a confession, The Hindu reported. The report did not say how he was pressured into signing the paper.

In August 2015, police arrested at least five men from Bhadrimahu, a village in Chhattisgarh, and accused them of helping Maoist rebels carry out an ambush in which a police official was killed, according to news reports. On September 29, 2015, the families of the men went to the police station to secure their release and Yadav accompanied them to cover the encounter. He was arrested later that day. Police denied in news reports that Yadav was arrested for reporting on the case.

For decades Maoists have led an insurgency in the central tribal areas of India. Journalists are frequently targeted by Maoists and government forces in the states affected by the conflict, CPJ research shows. The Maoists are designated as a terrorist organization by the Indian government. Police often carry out arbitrary arrests and pressure residents to serve as informers, and Maoists have killed residents suspected of being informers, according to news reports.

In October 2015, Yadav was placed in pretrial custody, according to news reports. In a protest that month, hundreds of journalists called on police to substantiate the allegations against him and asked why police waited several days before disclosing that he had been arrested, according to The Hoot.

Ajay Yadav, the superintendent of Bastar district police, told journalists he did not consider Yadav a journalist, according to news reports.

Khandelwal told CPJ that Yadav has been harassed by police several times in recent years. According to the People's Union for Civil Liberties, an Indian human rights organization, and reports citing local journalists, the harassment began after police saw Yadav during a May 2013 attack by Maoists that left dozens dead, including three Congress Party officials. The People's Union for Civil Liberties said police presumed Yadav had taken part in the attack because he was one of the first reporters to arrive at the scene.

In 2014, police summoned Yadav to the police station, where they stripped him and held him for several hours, according to Khandelwal and Scroll. News reports did not say why he had been summoned. In August 2014, police filed a case against Yadav that accused him of harassing a woman. The journalist's family and colleagues said that was a false allegation. News reports said that Yadav has been pressured by police to join their efforts to capture Maoists. Yadav's wife, Poonam, told The Hindu that police had threatened to kill him in 2014.

According to a July 27, 2016, report in The Hindu, Yadav claimed that inmates in the Jagdalpur jail, where he is being held, were threatening his life. . "He said a person named Vicky was planning to attack him. He expressed apprehensions that he might be killed inside the jail. He is extremely scared," said Budhram Yadav, his father, according to the report.

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Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories: 7

Ali Aliwiwe, Radio 4

Medium:
Radio
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
October 21, 2015

Ali Aliwiwe, the host of an evening news program on Palestinian Radio 4, was arrested by Israeli security forces at his home in the West Bank city of Hebron at 2:30 a.m. on October 21, 2015, an hour after he returned from work, his boss told CPJ.

Raed al-Atrash, the head of national and political programs at the station, told CPJ that Aliwiwe was put in administrative detention in Ofer prison, southwest of the West Bank city of Ramallah. Under administrative detention procedures, authorities may hold detainees for six months without charge or trial and extend the detention an unlimited number of times.

CPJ asked the Israel Defense Forces about the arrests of 10 Palestinian journalists, including Aliwiwe, and whether the arrests were linked to their journalism.

In an emailed response on October 10, 2016, its Public Appeals Office said Aliwiwe and other journalists were detained due to activity in terror organizations including Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and that their detention was a preventative measure taken to neutralize a security threat that could not be addressed by criminal trial because of classified information. The statement did not specify exact legal charges against any of the journalists or in which organization the individuals were suspected of involvement.

In December 2015, Aliwiwe was moved to the Negev detention facility in south Israel and his detention was renewed twice, his sister Susan Aliwiwe told CPJ.

On the evening of Aliwiwe's arrest, Radio 4 covered the shooting of Bashar and Hussam Jabari, teenage cousins who were killed by the Israel Defense Forces in Hebron after a soldier was wounded. Israeli authorities circulated images showing the bodies of the boys next to knives. Palestinian residents disputed the authenticity of the images, saying the knives had been planted.

A Radio 4 correspondent interviewed residents and relayed developments to Aliwiwe, who was in the studio. Aliwiwe was broadcasting live until 1 a.m., the channel's director, Riyad al-Khamis, who was in the studio with him at the time, told CPJ in an interview at the station's office in September 2016. Al-Khamis described Aliwiwe's broadcasts as "very professional" and said, "We were covering a fast-moving story the best we could."

CPJ was not able to independently review Aliwiwe's radio broadcasts.

Aliwiwe's arrest came during an especially tense period, amid a wave of Palestinians stabbing Israeli soldiers and civilians, and Israeli security forces shooting assailants, alleged assailants and protesters. Israeli officials have accused Palestinian news outlets, as well as individuals on Facebook, of encouraging Palestinian attacks and inciting violence with their broadcasts. Several Palestinian channels have been closed down in the past year and dozens of individuals--including journalists--have been arrested for incitement, either through the media or on Facebook, according to media reports.

Al-Khamis denied that Aliwiwe or any of his colleagues incited listeners to violence. "There was no incitement [in our coverage] at all," al-Khamis said. Al-Atrash called on the Israeli authorities to provide a "clear definition of incitement so we can stay away from it."

On the morning of his arrest, Aliwiwe was questioned about his work for Radio 4 and his posts on Facebook, his sister told CPJ. She said her brother was not a member of Hamas.

In his Facebook account, which Aliwiwe used to solicit and disseminate information for and about his broadcasts, Aliwiwe reported closely on the violence in the weeks before his arrest. In his social media posts, reviewed by CPJ, Aliwiwe accused Israeli forces of "executing" Palestinians "in cold blood" on the pretext that they had attempted to carry out stabbings, and shared interviews conducted by his station with families of killed Palestinians. In a post the night of his arrest, Aliwiwe shared his station's report about an Israeli settler who was run over by a Palestinian driver and killed.

In 2016, Radio 4 was shut down twice by the Israel Defense Forces for between 24 and 48 hours for unknown reasons, al-Khamis said. The station's employees have adopted a policy of taking all recording equipment home every evening to prevent it being confiscated or destroyed, he said.

Aliwiwe's October 2015 arrest came less than a month after he was released from six months of administrative detention. During that time Aliwiwe was questioned about his work for the station and an intelligence officer warned him against using his work at the station to incite violence, according to Al-Atrash.

Aliwiwe has Crohn's disease, which has been worsening in prison because he cannot maintain the diet needed to keep the condition under control, his sister said.

Omar Nazzal, Pelest

Medium:
Internet, Print
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
April 23, 2016

Palestinian writer Omar Nazzal was arrested by the Israel Defense Forces at Allenby Bridge crossing between the West Bank and Jordan on April 23, 2016, en route to a general meeting of the European Federation of Journalists in Sarajevo, the federation said in a statement condemning the arrest.

On May 2, 2016, Nazzal was transferred to administrative detention, his lawyer, Mahmoud Hassan, said. Under administrative detention laws, detainees may be held for up to six months without charge or trial and their detention can be renewed an unlimited number of times. In November, his detention was renewed for third time, for at least a further three months, local media reported.

CPJ asked the Israel Defense Forces about the arrests of 10 Palestinian journalists, including Nazzal, and whether the arrests were linked to their journalism.

In an emailed response on October 10, 2016, its Public Appeals Office said Nazzal and other journalists were detained due to activity in terror organizations including Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and that their detention was a preventative measure taken to neutralize a security threat that could not be addressed by criminal trial because of classified information. The statement did not specify exact legal charges against any of the journalists or in which organization the individuals were suspected of involvement.

Nazzal ran the West Bank office of news website Pelest, commissioning and editing articles, the outlet said in emailed statement to CPJ. He also wrote op-eds for Al-Hadaf, a newspaper affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Nazzal is a Palestinian Journalist Syndicate board member and official spokesperson for the body, Montasr Hamdan, a member of its general secretariat, told CPJ. He also worked for the University of Birzeit's Media Development Center in an advisory role, Hamdan added.

Hassan, the writer's lawyer, told CPJ during a meeting at the office of Addameer, a human rights and prison support non-governmental organization in Ramallah, that he believes Nazzal's journalism is central to his imprisonment. "He is very prominent and his opinion carries a lot of weight...This arrest silences him," Hassan said.

In the weeks before his arrest, Nazzal shared statements on Facebook criticizing Israel's crackdown on Palestinian media, including the closure of Palestine Today, an Islamic Jihad-affiliated TV channel that was raided and shut down by the Israel Defense Forces in March 2016. Islamic Jihad is designated a terrorist organization by Israel and the group is banned from operating in the country. Israel accused the channel of inciting violence against civilians. Nazzal had worked as a news editor at Palestine Today, but left in January 2016 to work for Pelest, channel spokesperson Ali Murad told CPJ.

In February 2016, Nazzal wrote an op-ed for Al-Hadaf about Omar al-Nayef, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine who was convicted of the 1986 murder of an Israeli student in Jerusalem. Al-Nayef, who had been living as a fugitive in Bulgaria for over 20 years, died in the Palestinian embassy in Sofia in February 2016, in what his brother described as an assassination by Mossad agents. His brother said in interviews that the killing potentially included the cooperation of the Palestinian diplomatic mission. The Palestinian Authority and Israel's foreign ministry both denied involvement in his death. Nazzal paid tribute to the life of al-Nayef in the op-ed, but did not repeat the claims that Mossad was involved.

The attorney, Hassan, said he believed Nazzal's article was one of the reasons for his arrest, but said that details of his case are in a secret file and he does have access to the exact accusations against his client.

A senior editor at Al-Hadaf, Jamal Meqdad, told CPJ in a written statement "It is thought that the main reason for his arrest is his journalism, especially his role in exposing the violations of the [Israeli] occupation."

Meqdad said that although Nazzal agreed with some of the principles of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, such as secularism, he was not a member of the group.

Nazzal had been banned from travelling outside Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory since 2014 for unknown reasons, Hassan said, noting, "He was never questioned as part of the ban...and the reason for it was kept secret." In April 2016 Nazzal was granted permission by the local District Coordination Office, a body run jointly by Israel and the Palestinian Authority to coordinate the movement of Palestinians in the West Bank, to leave the country and attend the European Federation of Journalists conference. The arrest at Allenby Bridge suggests coordination between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, "both of whom were angered by the article about al-Nayef," Hassan said.

The local District Coordination Office did not respond to CPJ's request for comment in October 2016.

Nazzal began a two-week hunger strike on August 4, to protest his administrative detention and in support of Bilal Kayid, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine who had been on hunger strike in prison for 50 days. Hassan said he convinced Nazzal to end his hunger strike after he lost weight and became ill.

Adib al-Atrash, Palestine Post

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
June 20, 2016

Adib al-Atrash, a stringer for Palestine Post, was arrested by Israeli security forces at dawn from his family home in the West Bank city of Hebron, his fiancée Shatha Zghayer told CPJ, confirming local media reports. Zghayer told CPJ she does not know why he was arrested.

Al-Atrash is being held in administrative detention in Ofer prison south of Ramallah, his lawyer Nimr Abu Omar told CPJ. Under administrative detention procedures, authorities may hold detainees for six months without charge or trial and extend the detention an unlimited number of times.

On September 20, 2016, al-Atrash's detention was renewed for a further three months, Abu Omar said. He told CPJ it was not possible to know whether al-Atrash was arrested for his work as a journalist because the case against him is in a secret file to which he doesn't have access.

CPJ asked the Israel Defense Forces about the arrests of 10 Palestinian journalists, including al-Atrash, and whether the arrests were linked to their journalism.

In an emailed response on October 10, 2016, its Public Appeals Office said al-Atrash and other journalists were detained due to activity in terror organizations including Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and that their detention was a preventative measure taken to neutralize a security threat that could not be addressed by criminal trial because of classified information. The statement did not specify exact legal charges against any of the journalists or in which organization the individuals were suspected of involvement.

Al-Atrash worked as a Hebron-based stringer for Palestine Post, a Palestinian outlet that shares content via Facebook and Twitter, an employee told CPJ via Facebook messenger. The outlet's reporting includes updates on Israel Defense Forces activity, including images, and shares content from other sites. The employee, who did not provide a name, did not respond to further questions about whether al-Atrash's arrest may be linked with his work, or his role at the outlet.

Al-Atrash previously worked as a media researcher for the Ro'ya Center for Studies and Research, a think tank based in Hamas-ruled Gaza. The think tank, which describes itself as an independent institute dedicated to research in the Arab world, particularly Palestine/Israel, did not respond to CPJ's telephone and emailed requests for comment on September 25, 2016.

On May 2, 2016, two months before his arrest, al-Atrash was detained and questioned by Palestinian intelligence services for several hours, Palestinian press freedom monitor MADA reported. Zghayer said al-Atrash was asked about his studies, his work for Ro'ya and his political affiliation. The West Bank-based Fatah movement and Hamas in Gaza are long-standing political rivals, and harass and question journalists and activists who criticize their rule.

Ahmad Darawish, Al-Sanabel Radio

Medium:
Internet, Radio
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
August 31, 2016

Darawish, the manager of Al-Sanabel Radio, was arrested by Israeli soldiers from his home in the West Bank town of Dura during the night, his lawyer Mahmoud Hassan told CPJ. Three journalists and a media worker at the local radio station, which employed eight people, were arrested the same date and Israel Defense Forces raided the channel's headquarters, seizing broadcasting equipment and using a court order to shut down the outlet for at least three months, Palestinian media reported.

Darawish, journalists Nidal Amro, Mohammed Imran, and Montasser Nassar, and sound engineer Hamed al-Namoura--were referred to trial on September 18, 2016. As of December 1, 2016, they had not been sentenced.

CPJ has reviewed a translated summary of the Israeli Military Prosecution's indictment against Darawish, in which he is charged with "incitement, support of a hostile organization...performing a service for a hostile organization ... [and] the publication of reports of military value," in which he is accused of encouraging violence against Israeli soldiers and civilians through al-Sanabel broadcasts, revealing information about the location of Israel Defense Forces personnel in Dura through broadcasts, and supporting and aiding Hamas. He is also accused of hiring staff who broadcast inciting material and being responsible for their content.

The indictment says it is an offence to publish reports of military value. It adds that in the two years before his arrest Darawishhad shared on his Facebook page and via the radio station details including the location and movement of troops, current or planned actions, and details of weapons and supplies. It added that this information was given "in conjunction with playing songs that signify a call to attack security forces."

The arrests came during an especially tense period, amid a wave of Palestinians stabbing Israeli soldiers and civilians, and Israeli security forces shooting assailants, alleged assailants, and protesters. Israeli officials have accused Palestinian news outlets, as well as individuals on Facebook, of encouraging Palestinian attacks and inciting violence with their broadcasts. Several Palestinian channels have been closed down in the past year and dozens of individuals--including journalists--have been arrested for incitement, either through the media or on Facebook, according to media reports.

Darawish's indictment gives seven examples of incitement allegedly carried out through Al-Sanabel Radio broadcasts from July 4, 2016 to August 20, 2016.

In four of the examples, Al-Sanabel staff were reporting live on Israel Defense Forces nighttime raids in Dura and providing updates on the location of soldiers. No examples of employees using language that directly incited imminent violence are provided in the indictment. Breaks in the live broadcasts were filled with music and speeches that the indictment describes as "incendiary."

Some of the song lyrics and speeches quoted in the indictment include:

"I will never put down my weapon... my weapon will forever remain in my hands... My weapon stays, my weapon stays."

"I'm coming at you oh my enemy, from every house, and neighborhood and street, with my weapon and my faith, I'm coming at you."

"The land of Palestine is for you respected ones, those who raise the knife and the stone. We will destroy Israel and protect our land... Street war has begun in Palestine... We will deny you movement oh settlers... Our border is from sea to sea... The masked men have left the mosques and Palestine flags are in every corner. Going down to the square with a stone in my hand, destined for the enemy... And the old man holds the gun in his hands."

"Say Allahu akbar, burn those who wear green. The youngest boy will burn the jeep. Oh Yossi, tell all your dogs, Dura will throw a revolution and the smallest child will burn a jeep. There are boys in Dura who will burn your army if it advances, oh Yossi. You will regret it."

A journalist from Al-Sanabel denied that the station was inciting violence through its content. In an interview in Dura, the journalist--who asked not to be named for fear of arrest--said the songs were on a pre-selected playlist and aired to allow the hosts a break during long reporting shifts, rather than coordinated to follow particular news stories or encourage violence. "The songs we chose to play are patriotic. They are mostly from the Second Intifada and everybody knows them," the journalist said. "Palestinians have been playing the same songs for years, so why are they suddenly now incitement?"

The journalist said none of the songs and speeches aired by Al-Sanabel that were cited in the official indictment were written or produced by the radio station.

The other three examples of incitement in the indictment consist of sharing content on Al-Sanabel's Facebook page that commemorated and glorified the life of Mohammed al-Fakih, a Dura resident killed by the Israel Defense Forces in a shootout on July 27, 2016, three weeks after he killed Israeli Rabbi Michael Mark and wounding three others.

The first examples cited were posted on July 29, 2016. In the first, Al-Sanabel called on listeners to attend a rally in Dura to celebrate al-Fakih.

The second live streamed the rally on the Facebook page. During the rally, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh addresses the crowd via phone.

In the third example, on August 20 a trailer for a movie about al-Fakih was posted on its page. It showed a reconstruction of the killing of Mark and clips of interviews with family members describing al-Fakih's actions as heroic.

Hassan, Al-Sanabel's attorney, said Israel did not have a clear, public definition of incitement through the media, and this posed a challenge for journalists who do not know what content is within the law and what is illegal. He added that he had seen a "big rise" in incitement cases in 2016.

In a statement emailed to CPJ on October 10, 2016, the Israel Defense Forces' Public Appeals Office said, "The IDF sees freedom of speech and freedom of press as fundamental rights... but we draw a clear line between expressing an opinion (including criticizing the government) and abuse of rights in order to encourage acts of terrorism ... and inciting the harm of civilians."

Mohammed Imran, Al-Sanabel Radio

Medium:
Internet, Radio
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
August 31, 2016

Imran, a presenter at Al-Sanabel Radio station, was arrested by Israeli soldiers from his home in the West Bank town of Dura during the night, his lawyer Mahmoud Hassan told CPJ. The station's owner, three other journalists, and a media worker at the local radio station, which employed eight people, were arrested the same day and Israel Defense Forces raided the channel's headquarters, seizing broadcasting equipment and using a court order to shut down the outlet for at least three months, Palestinian media reported.

Imran, station owner Ahmad DaDarawishrwish, journalists Nidal Amro and Montasser Nassar, and sound engineer Hamed al-Namoura, were referred to trial on September 18, 2016. As of December 1, 2016, they had not been sentenced.

CPJ has reviewed a translated summary of the Israeli Military Prosecution's indictment against Imran, in which he is accused of inciting violence, revealing information about the location of Israel Defense Forces personnel, and praising terrorists in his broadcasts.

The arrests came during an especially tense period, amid a wave of Palestinians stabbing Israeli soldiers and civilians, and Israeli security forces shooting assailants, alleged assailants, and protesters. Israeli officials have accused Palestinian news outlets, as well as individuals on Facebook, of encouraging Palestinian attacks and inciting violence with their broadcasts. Several Palestinian channels have been closed down in the past year and dozens of individuals-- including journalists--have been arrested for incitement, either through the media or on Facebook, according to media reports.

Imran's indictment lists seven examples of alleged incitement in Al-Sanabel Radio broadcasts. Reporting by Imran is cited in just one of the examples, on July 27, 2016, in a broadcast which has been reviewed by CPJ. No examples of Imran using language that incites imminent violence are provided in the indictment. The only examples listed in the indictment are examples of incitement come from the songs and speeches played between news broadcasts.

On July 27, 2016, Imran was in the studio reporting live on a raid on a house where Mohammed al-Fakih, a Dura resident who killed Israeli Rabbi Michael Mark and injured three others in a drive-by shooting three weeks earlier, was hiding. Imran broadcasted updates for over an hour, covering the position of soldiers, the closure of parts of Dura and surrounding villages, and clashes between residents and the Israel Defense Forces. He called on listeners to be aware of Israel Defense Forces activity and to contribute information in real time on Al-Sanabel's Facebook page.

In a broadcast reviewed by CPJ, the broadcaster did not use violent rhetoric or incite listeners to take action.

Breaks in the live broadcast were filled with music and speeches that the indictment describes as "incendiary." Some of the song lyrics and speeches quoted in the indictment include:

"I will never put down my weapon... my weapon will forever remain in my hands... My weapon stays, my weapon stays."

"I'm coming at you oh my enemy, from every house, and neighborhood and street, with my weapon and my faith, I'm coming at you."

"The land of Palestine is for you respected ones, those who raise the knife and the stone. We will destroy Israel and protect our land... Street war has begun in Palestine... We will deny you movement oh settlers... Our border is from sea to sea... The masked men have left the mosques and Palestine flags are in every corner. Going down to the square with a stone in my hand, destined for the enemy... And the old man holds the gun in his hands."

A journalist from Al-Sanabel denied that the station was inciting violence through its content. In an interview in Dura, the journalist, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of arrest, said the songs were on pre-selected playlist and aired to allow the hosts a break during long reporting shifts, rather than coordinated to follow particular news stories or encourage violence. "The songs we chose to play are patriotic. They are mostly from the Second Intifada and everybody knows them," the journalist said. "Palestinians have been playing the same songs for years, so why are they suddenly now incitement?"

The journalist said none of the songs and speeches cited in the indictment were written or produced by the radio station.

Hassan, Al-Sanabel's attorney, said Israel did not have a clear, public definition of incitement through the media, and this posed a challenge for journalists who do not know what content is within the law and what is illegal. He added that he had seen a "big rise" in incitement cases in 2016.

In a statement emailed to CPJ on October 10, 2016, the Israel Defense Forces' Public Appeals Office said, "The IDF sees freedom of speech and freedom of press as fundamental rights... but we draw a clear line between expressing an opinion (including criticizing the government) and abuse of rights in order to encourage acts of terrorism ... and inciting the harm of civilians."

In the indictment, Imran is also accused of inciting violence through his personal Facebook page by publishing the location of forces, videos of clashes and sharing reporting from Al-Sanabel. The indictment provides one specific example of alleged incitement, saying he posted an image of Mohammed Ali and captioned it "commander of the knives." The indictment did not date the post, and CPJ could not locate it when reviewing his page on October 11, 2016. The indictment likely refers to 19-year-old Mohammed Saeed Ali. Ali who was shot dead while stabbing three officers on October 10, 2015 in East Jerusalem, according to news reports.

Montaser Nassar, Al-Sanabel Radio/RamSat

Medium:
Internet, Radio, Television
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
August 31, 2016

Nassar, a presenter at Al-Sanabel Radio station, was arrested by the Israel Defense Forces from his home in the West Bank town of Dura during the night, his lawyer Mahmoud Hassan told CPJ. The station's owner, three other journalists, and a media worker at the local radio station, which employed eight people, were arrested the same day and Israel Defense Forces raided the channel's headquarters, seizing broadcasting equipment and using a court order to shut down the outlet for at least three months, Palestinian media reported.

Nassar, station owner Ahmad Darawish, journalists Mohammed Imran and Nidal Amro, and sound engineer Hamed al-Namoura, were referred to trial on September 18, 2016. As of December 1, 2016, they had not been sentenced.

CPJ has reviewed a translated summary the Israeli Military Prosecution's indictment against Nassar, in which he is charged with "incitement, support of a hostile organization... performing a service for a hostile organization ... [and] the publication of reports of military value," in which he is accused of encouraging violence against Israeli soldiers and civilians through Al-Sanabel broadcasts, revealing information about the location of Israel Defense Forces personnel in Dura through broadcasts, and supporting and aiding Hamas.

The arrests came during an especially tense period, amid a wave of Palestinians stabbing Israeli soldiers and civilians, and Israeli security forces shooting assailants, alleged assailants, and protesters. Israeli officials have accused Palestinian news outlets, as well as individuals on Facebook, of encouraging Palestinian attacks and inciting violence with their broadcasts. Several Palestinian channels have been closed down in the past year and dozens of individuals --including journalists-- have been arrested for incitement, either through the media or on Facebook, according to media reports.

Reporting by Nassar is cited in two of the seven examples of alleged incitement at the station, on July 4 and July 27, 2016, in broadcasts which have been reviewed by CPJ. No examples of Nassar using language that directly incites imminent violence are provided in the indictment.

In the indictment, Nassar is also accused of having "performed a service for Hamas" through his personal Facebook page and his second job, working as a presenter for RamSat, a TV production company that sells content to Al-Aqsa TV. The Hamas-run channel is banned from operating in Israel and the West Bank. It broadcasts from the Gaza Strip. CPJ attempted to reach RamSat for comment via phone on several occasions, but the calls went unanswered.

In the July 4 radio broadcast, Nassar is one of two correspondents covering nighttime Israel Defense Forces raids in Dura. Speaking to presenter Nidal Amro in the morning after the raids, Nassar recounted the developments of the night, including positions of soldiers. The July 27 broadcast follows the killing of Mohammed al-Fakih in a gun fight with Israel Defense Forces. Al-Fakih, a Dura resident, killed a rabbi and injured three others in a drive-by shooting three weeks earlier. Nassar was in the studio broadcasting live in the hours after al-Fakih's death. Nassar regularly referred to al-Fakih as a "martyr" and a "hero," and he called on the public to attend a memorial rally for al-Faqih.

In the July 4 broadcast reviewed by CPJ, Nassar featured for only a few minutes at the end of the broadcast. The language he used to report on the raids was not violent, and his tone was calm.

Breaks in live broadcasts were filled with music and speeches that the indictment describes as "incendiary." Some of the song lyrics and speeches quoted in the indictment include:

"Martyr Muhammad al-Faqih, may God have mercy on your pure soul. All residents of the West Bank, all residents of Hebron laud you and your falling as a martyr after an armed struggle of more than seven hours in the village of Sureef. God's mercy on your soul, and may you be admitted, with the help of God, into eternal paradise, oh hero..."

"We are your heroes oh Dura. We are the heroes of stones. We fear not the plane, nor the tank. Oh Dura, the enterprise of men. Oh Dura, heroes of swift response... I know not fear, a stone clenched in my hand, and an AK-47 too."

A journalist from Al-Sanabel denied that the station was inciting violence through its content. In an interview in Dura, the journalist, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of arrest, said all the songs were on pre-selected playlist, and were aired to allow the hosts a break during long reporting shifts, rather than coordinated to follow particular news stories or encourage violence. "The songs we chose to play are patriotic. They are mostly from the Second Intifada and everybody knows them," the journalist said. "Palestinians have been playing the same songs for years, so why are they suddenly now incitement?"

The journalist said none of the songs and speeches cited in the indictment had been written or produced by the radio station.

Hassan, Al-Sanabel's attorney, said Israel did not have a clear, public definition of incitement through the media, and this posed a challenge for journalists who do not know what content is within the law and what is illegal. He added that he had seen a "big rise" in incitement cases in 2016.

In a statement emailed to CPJ on October 10, 2016, the Israel Defense Forces' Public Appeals Office said, "The IDF sees freedom of speech and freedom of press as fundamental rights... but we draw a clear line between expressing an opinion (including criticizing the government) and abuse of rights in order to encourage acts of terrorism ... and inciting the harm of civilians."

As well as his work at the radio station, Nassar presented several programs on Al-Aqsa, including one that commemorated al-Fakih. On July 13, 2016, he posted photos on Facebook from an interview he carried out with the al-Fakih family about Mohammed al-Fakih, who was in hiding at the time. On July 26, he posted a link to a program he presented for Al-Aqsa about life in Aida refugee camp. Several of the examples in the indictment of Nassar sharing Hamas material on Facebook and streaming programs from Al-Aqsa were not available when CPJ tried to view them in October 2016.

Nidal Amro, Al-Sanabel Radio

Medium:
Internet, Radio
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
August 31, 2016

Amro, a presenter at Al-Sanabel Radio station, was arrested by the Israel Defense Forces from his home in the West Bank town of Dura during the night, his lawyer Mahmoud Hassan told CPJ. The station's owner, three other journalists, and a media worker at the local radio station, which employed eight people, were arrested the same day and Israel Defence Forces raided the channel's headquarters, seizing broadcasting equipment and using a court order to shut down the outlet for at least three months, Palestinian media reported.

Amro, station owner Ahmad Darawish, journalists Mohammed Imran and Montasser Nassar, and sound engineer Hamed al-Namoura--were referred to trial on September 18, 2016. As of December 1, 2016, they had not been sentenced

A translated summary of the Israeli Military Prosecution's official indictment against Amro, reviewed by CPJ, reads, "Over the past three years, Al-Sanabel has been broadcasting much incendiary content encouraging harm to and revolt against Israeli soldiers and civilians. The journalists are accused of having "routinely published the location of security forces, their movements, and their current actions...in conjunction with playing songs that signify a call to attack security forces." They are also accused of "support for a hostile organization [Hamas]."

The arrests came during an especially tense period, amid a wave of Palestinians stabbing Israeli soldiers and civilians, and Israeli security forces shooting assailants, alleged assailants, and protesters. Israeli officials have accused Palestinian news outlets, as well as individuals on Facebook, of encouraging Palestinian attacks and inciting violence with their broadcasts. Several Palestinian channels have been closed down in the past year and dozens of individuals --including journalists--have been arrested for incitement, either through the media or on Facebook, according to media reports.

Amro's reporting is cited in three of the seven examples of alleged incitement at the station. Two of the three broadcasts, on July 4, 2016 and July 27, 2016, have been reviewed by CPJ. The third, dated July 12, 2016, was no longer publically available as of October 12, 2016. No examples of Amro using language that directly incites imminent violence in the broadcasts are provided in the indictment.

In the broadcasts reviewed by CPJ, Amro was in the studio reporting live on nighttime house raids in Dura, interviewing correspondents and residents, and providing updates on the movement and location of soldiers. Amro regularly called on listeners to be aware of Israel Defence Forces' activity in the town, to be careful while raids are going on, and to contribute information in real time on Al-Sanabel's Facebook page. The July 27 broadcast covered the raid on Mohammed al-Fakih's house, a Palestinian from Dura who had killed rabbi Michael Mark and injured three others in a drive-by shooting three weeks earlier. Breaks in live broadcasts were filled with music.

Breaks in live broadcasts were filled with music and speeches that the indictment describes as "incendiary." Some of the song lyrics and speeches quoted in the indictment include:

"I will never put down my weapon... my weapon will forever remain in my hands... My weapon stays, my weapon stays."

"I'm coming at you oh my enemy, from every house, and neighborhood and street, with my weapon and my faith, I'm coming at you."

"The land of Palestine is for you respected ones, those who raise the knife and the stone. We will destroy Israel and protect our land... Street war has begun in Palestine... We will deny you movement oh settlers... Our border is from sea to sea... The masked men have left the mosques and Palestine flags are in every corner. Going down to the square with a stone in my hand, destined for the enemy... And the old man holds the gun in his hands."

"Say Allahu akbar, burn those who wear green. The youngest boy will burn the jeep. Oh Yossi, tell all your dogs, Dura will throw a revolution and the smallest child will burn a jeep. There are boys in Dura who will burn your army if it advances, oh Yossi. You will regret it."

A journalist from Al-Sanabel denied that the station was inciting violence through its content. In an interview in Dura, the journalist, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of arrest, said the songs were on pre-selected playlist, and were aired to allow the hosts a break during long reporting shifts, rather than coordinated to follow particular news stories or encourage violence. "The songs we chose to play are patriotic. They are mostly from the Second Intifada and everybody knows them," the journalist said. "Palestinians have been playing the same songs for years, so why are they suddenly now incitement?"

The journalist said none of the songs and speeches cited in the official indictment had been written or produced by the radio station.

Hassan, Al-Sanabel's attorney, said Israel did not have a clear, public definition of incitement through the media, and that this posed a challenge for journalists who do not know what content is within the law and what is illegal. He added that he had seen a "big rise" in incitement cases in 2016.

In a statement emailed to CPJ, the Israel Defence Forces' Public Appeals Office said, "The IDF sees freedom of speech and freedom of press as fundamental rights... but we draw a clear line between expressing an opinion (including criticizing the government) and abuse of rights in order to encourage acts of terrorism ... and inciting the harm of civilians."

The indictment also states Amro is accused of inciting violence through Facebook posts, which CPJ has reviewed. On October 16, 2015, Amro posted a picture of a Palestinian chasing a soldier with a knife, and wrote, "We will chase them in every street, every alley, every home and every neighborhood. Your strength in our land is dying." On February 24, 2016 the indictment describes Amro as posting a picture of a Palestinian who carried out a stabbing in Gush Etzion settlement, with a comment that read, "You are one of a kind...perpetrator of the heroic stabbing operation." CPJ found that Amro did not write the comment himself, but shared another person's photograph that included the description as part of the image. On July 27, 2016, Amro posted three picture of al-Fakih's bloodied clothes, saying: "...Yes, I held Muhammad's clothes in my trembling hands, and etched into my heart and memory Muhammad's message and will, and the last word he said, 'either victory or martyrdom.'"

Several other examples of alleged Facebook incitement listed in the indictment show Amro sharing Al-Sanabel radio broadcasts, and posting updates about clashes in the town, such as, "The occupation has invaded Dura, concentrating in more than one location. They are also shooting live bullets, rubber bullets, and tear and stun grenades."

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Iran: 8

Mohammad Seddigh Kaboudvand, Payam-e-Mardom

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 1, 2007

Plainclothes security officials arrested Kaboudvand, a 49-year-old journalist and human rights activist, at his Tehran office, according to Amnesty International and CPJ sources. He was being held at Evin Prison in Tehran.

Authorities charged Kaboudvand, head of the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan and managing editor of the weekly Payam-e-Mardom, with acting against national security and engaging in propaganda against the state, according to his organization's website. A Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced him to 11 years in prison in 2008.

Kaboudvand's health deteriorated in prison, and he was consistently denied requests for medical leave or family visits. His wife, Farinaz Baghban Hassani, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI) that when his family members were finally allowed to see him, they believed he had developed significant heart problems in custody. News accounts also reported that the journalist experienced severe dizziness and disruption of speech and vision.

Kaboudvand has waged several hunger strikes to protest authorities' refusal to grant him a furlough to see his son, who had been diagnosed with leukemia, according to news reports. After he waged a hunger strike that left him hospitalized, authorities temporarily released him to visit his son in December 2012 on bail of 7 billion riyals (about US$250,000). The journalist returned to prison after four days, news reports said.

On April 17, 2014, security and intelligence agents in Ward 350 of Evin Prison severely beat and injured several prisoners, according to news websites and human rights groups. Kaboudvand was badly injured. His wife, who visited him after the attack, told the reformist news website Kaleme that three of his ribs and two toes had been broken and that he had bruised knees and arms and swelling on the back of his head.

In March 2016, when Kabouvand had spent nine years in prison, prosecutors opened a new case against the journalist. He was accused of "propagandizing against the state" for sending a message from prison calling for peace between ethnic Kurds and the Turkish government, and also congratulating the people of Kobani, a city in northern Syria, for their successful defense of the city against the Islamic State militant group, Kaboudvand's wife told the U.S.-government-funded Radio Farda. On May 8, 2016, Kaboudvand went on hunger strike to protest the new charges. On May 23, the journalist's health significantly deteriorated and he was transferred to a hospital, according to news reports. On June 10, 2016, the court acquitted‌ him of the new charges, and he ended his hunger strike.

On June 17, 2016, Kaboudvand was granted a four-day medical furlough on bail of 4 billion riyals (roughly US$113,000), according to reports.

According to a February 2016 report by the ICHRI, even though the warden of Evin Prison had recommended Kaboudvand for conditional release, the prosecutor refused. According to 2013 changes to Iran's penal code, defendants sentenced to prison for multiple charges must serve only the longest sentence. Iranian law allows prisoners to appeal for conditional release after they have served half their sentence, making Kaboudvand eligible for conditional parole.

Khosrow Kordpour, Murkian News Agency

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
March 8, 2013

Intelligence forces arrested Khosrow Kordpour, editor-in-chief of the Mukrian News Agency, an outlet that covers the arrests and prosecutions of Kurdish activists and documents human rights violations. The U.S. government-funded Radio Farda reported that authorities had a warrant for his arrest and also searched his home, but did not offer further details.

Kordpour's brother, freelance journalist Massoud Kordpour, was arrested at the Boukan Intelligence Office the next day when he went to inquire about the imprisonment of his brother. Authorities later searched his home and confiscated personal items. Massoud Kordpour had frequently covered human rights in Kurdistan province.

At the time, neither journalist was allowed access to his lawyer or family members, according to the independent press service Human Rights Activist News Agency. Another brother, As'ad, told Kurdpa on April 11, 2013, that a judge had forbidden the journalists' family to visit the brothers.

The brothers were taken to court on September 16, 2013, and officially charged with "propaganda against the regime," "insulting the supreme leader," and "publishing falsehoods with the intent to create public anxiety," according to the Mukrian News Agency. The judge did not issue a decision on the defense lawyer's request to release the journalists on bail. Khosrow Kordpour and his brother Massoud were sent back to prison.

Khosrow was sentenced to five years of prison in exile in Tabriz prison for "assembly and collusion," and one year in prison and two years of exile for "propagating against the state." Massoud was sentenced to three years for "assembly and collusion against national security" and six months for "propagating against the state."

In 2014, an appellate court reduced Massoud's sentence to three years in prison and Khosrow's to five years in prison, including two years of imprisonment in exile in Tabriz prison. Massoud Kordpour was released in December 2015 after completing his sentence.

Khosrow Kordpour was transferred to Tabriz Prison on March 19, 2014, according to Radio Zamaneh, and he was denied furlough, according to HRANA.

Saeed Pourheydar, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
January 4, 2015

The Iranian journalist and blogger Pourheydar was arrested in Tehran on January 4, 2015, about a month after he returned to Iran from the U.S., where he was living.

Pourheydar has written for numerous reformist outlets, including the dailies Hambastegi, Mardomsalari, and Sobh-e Emrooz and online website Radio Zamaneh, and has given interviews to foreign-based media, including BBC Persian, Voice of America, and Radio Farda, in which he is referred to as a journalist.

After Iran's contested presidential election in 2009, Pourheydar was arrested twice. In 2010, the Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced him to a five-year suspended prison term for "assembly and collusion with the intent to commit crimes against national security," according to reports.

In December 2010, Pourheydar left Iran and migrated to the U.S. In May 2011, he gave an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI) about abuse and torture that he had undergone and witnessed as an imprisoned journalist in Iran. He also recorded testimony for the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center in which he described the pressures he and other Iranian journalists faced, preventing them from reporting to the outside world what was taking place in the country.

Pourheydar returned to Iran in late 2014 and was arrested on January 4, 2015. He was charged with "propagating against the state," "insulting the supreme leader," and "publishing falsehood in cyber space." On August 3, 2015, the Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced Pourheydar to five years in prison.

Iranian authorities have not revealed what alleged wrongdoing led to Pourheydar's arrest and conviction. However, Firouzeh Ramezanzade, his former wife, told CPJ she believes the charges stem from the interviews he gave to human rights organizations and Persian media in which he criticized the Iranian government.

Pourheydar was first held at Evin Prison and later transferred to Rajaee Shahr prison. He appealed the 2015 conviction. As of late 2016, CPJ was unable to determine whether an appellate court had ruled on his case.

The group Journalism Is Not a Crime, which reports exclusively on freedom of the press in Iran, on April 16, 2016, published a photograph of Pourheydar with his lips sewn shut. The organization report ed that Pourheydar had begun a hunger strike to protest his transfer to Rajaee Shahr prison, authorities' refusal to set bail, and the lack of clarity in his legal case.

On April 27, the London-based Manoto TV reported that Pourheydar's cellmates were worried about the decline in his health.

Afarin Chitsaz, Iran

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
November 2, 2015

Intelligence officers of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps arrested Chitsaz, a columnist for Iran, a popular state newspaper affiliated with IRNA, Iran's official news agency, on November 2, 2015, according to local news reports. The next day, local media outlets with close ties to the Revolutionary Guards reported that five local journalists had been arrested for being part of an "infiltration network" with links to Western countries. Saham News, a news website with close ties to detained opposition leader Mehdi Karoubi, reported that Chitsaz was one of the five journalists.

Chitsaz is a former actress and costume designer. She began working as a journalist in recent years and mostly covered foreign policy stories. Saham News reported that she was closely associated with high-profile officials in President Hassan Rouhani's government, but did not elaborate.

On March 26, 2016, Branch 28 of Tehran Revolutionary Court convicted Chitsaz of "assembly and collusion with the intent to disrupt national security" and "collaboration with a foreign government" and sentenced her to 10 years in prison. On April 29, the journalist's mother told BBC Persian that her daughter had been held in solitary confinement in Evin prison for six months that and her interrogators had subjected her to physical abuse. In September 2016, Branch 36 of Tehran's Appellate Court reduced the journalist's sentence to two years in prison.

On July 5, 2016, Chitsaz was granted a three-day furlough on bail of 10 billion riyals (roughly US$320,000), according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI). She returned to prison. According to ICHRI, on July 21 she was transferred to a hospital to undergo surgery for her right knee. On September 10, she returned to Evin prison.

On September 28, 2016 the reformist news website Kalameh reported that Chitsaz had fainted from knee pain while climbing stairs in Evin prison, and that she had been denied family visits.

A family member, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, told CPJ that the journalist had not had knee problems prior to her incarceration, but that now Chitsaz needs surgery for both her knees, including the one doctors had already treated.

Issa Saharkhiz, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
November 2, 2015

Saharkhiz, a prominent Iranian journalist, was arrested on November 2, 2015, for "insulting the Supreme Leader," and "propaganda against the regime," his son Mehdi told CPJ.

The next day, local media outlets with close ties to Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps reported that five local journalists had been arrested for being part of an "infiltration network" with links to Western countries. The news website Rah-e-Dana quoted an unspecified source in identifying one of the journalists as Issa Saharkhiz.

The day before his arrest, Saharkhiz who contributed to the opposition website Rooz Online, had published a Facebook post in which he accused a representative of Iran's Supreme Leader as attempting to interfere in Iran's coming elections.

Authorities did not publicly state what activity led to the journalist's arrest.Mehdi Saharkhiz told CPJ that he believes his father was arrested because of his pre-election reporting and analysis. Mehdi believes Iran's Supreme Leader harbors a "personal vendetta" against the journalist, he said. In the last seven years, Saharkhiz has been imprisoned three times, including from 2009 to 2013 on charges of "insulting the supreme leader" and "propagandizing against the state."

On August 8, 2016, Branch 28 of Tehran's Revolutionary Court sentenced Saharkhiz to three years in prison on charges of "insulting the Supreme Leader." On September 19, 2016, the same court reduced his sentence to 21 months, without offering any legal or procedural justification, Mehdi Saharkhiz told CPJ.

On September 30, 2016, local media reported that Saharkhiz had started a hunger strike to protest the authorities' refusal to grant him a conditional release or a medical furlough. The journalist is on medication for his kidneys and to regulate his blood pressure, and has been treated in hospital during his incarceration. His health further deteriorated in March 2016 as a result of previous hunger strikes, CPJ reported at the time. The journalist's son told CPJ that authorities refused to release him despite the recommendation of the medical examiner's office that Saharkhiz be freed on medical grounds.

As of late 2016, Saharkhiz still faced charges in another case for "insulting the head of the judiciary." According to Iranian newsreports, a jury will rule on this case-making it one of the first high-profile trials to take place under a law passed in June that requires public jury trials for "political crimes," as distinct from crimes affecting national security, according to news reports.

Saman Safarzaee, Andisheh Pouya

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
November 2, 2015

Intelligence officers of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps arrested Safarzaee, a reporter for the monthly Andisheh Pouya, on November 2, 2015, local media reported. The next day, local media outlets with close ties to the Revolutionary Guards reported that five local journalists had been arrested for being part of an "infiltration network" with links to Western countries. Saham News, a news website with close ties to detained opposition leader Mehdi Karoubi, reported that Safarzaee was one of the five detained journalists.

Safarzaee worked on Andisheh Pouya's international desk and often "interviewed many foreign experts and international politicians," according to Saham News.

‌On April 26, 2016, Branch 28 of Tehran's Revolutionary Court convicted Safarzaee of "assembly and collusion with the intent to disrupt national security" and sentenced him to five years in prison, according to news reports. The journalist appealed the sentence, and on August 20, Branch 36 of the Appellate Court reduced the sentence to two years in prison.

In July 2016, after eight months in Evin Prison, Safarzaee was granted a three-day furlough, someone close to him, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, told CPJ.

Iranian law permits prisoners to appeal for conditional release once half the sentence has been served. A close associate of Safarzaee's told CPJ that the journalist plans to appeal for conditional release. "He is hopeful that because he has not acted in a way that will make the authorities too sensitive about his case, there is a chance that he might be granted a conditional release," the associate said, asking not to be identified for fear of retribution.

Reihaneh Tabatabaie, Sharq, Farhikhtegan, Bahar

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
January 12, 2016

Reihaneh Tabatabaie, a journalist who wrote for the reformist newspapers Sharq, Bahar, and Farhikhtegan, began serving her one-year prison sentence on January 12, 2016, according to reformist news website Kalameh. Judge Abolqasem Salavati, presiding over Branch 15 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran, had on November 17, 2015, convicted Tabatabie of the charge of "propagandizing against the state," but the journalist had not yet begun serving her sentence when the Committee to Protect Journalists conducted its annual prison census on December 1, 2015. Judge Salavati further banned the journalist from any journalistic or political activities, or from publishing anything to social media websites, the BBC's Persian service reported.

On July 17, 2016, Tabatabaie was granted a four-day furlough to attend her uncle's funeral, she told ILNA news agency.

Tabatabaie had been jailed several times prior to the sentence she began serving in January 2016.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards first detained Tabatabaie on November 12, 2010, and held her in solitary confinement in Ward 2A of Evin Prison for 36 days, according reports. In April 2012, Branch 26 of the Islamic Revolutionary Courإt in Tehran imposed a suspended, one-year prison sentence on the journalist for "propagandizing against the state" in her articles about the Green Movement. The Green Movement is an opposition protest movement that rose in the aftermath of the 2009 elections, which the movement claims were fraudulent.

An appeals court subsequently reduced that suspended sentence to six months in prison and six months of probation, according to pressreports.

On June 21, 2014, judicial authorities summoned Tabatabaie to Evin Prison Court and informed her that she would face new charges of "propagandizing against the state." She posted bail of 2 billion rials (US$63,700) on that charge, but was sent to Evin prison to serve her previously suspended six-month sentence.

Her trial on the charges for which she was jailed in January 2016 began in November 2014, according to press reports. She finished serving her previous sentence the following month, and was not incarcerated during the rest of her trial.

CPJ could not determine which news articles related to the two most recent charges of "propagandizing against the state."

As of late 2016, Tabatabaie was held in Evin Prison. On November 8, 2016, Kalameh published an open letter from the journalist to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in which she wrote, "when our newspapers are shut down in less than a year, when we have to fear detention and solitary confinement, what do we need health insurance for? We need security. We want protection from judicial [abuse] that shutters our newspapers, detains us, and bans us from working."

Keyvan Karimi, Freelance

Medium:
Documentary Film
Charge:
Anti-state, Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
November 23, 2016

Documentary filmmaker Keyvan Karimi began serving a sentence of one year in prison and 223 lashes in Tehran's Evin prison on November 23, 2016, according to reformist news website Kalame.

In October 2015, Branch 38 of Tehran Revolutionary Court sentenced Karimi to six years in prison for "insulting sanctities" and "propagandizing against the state," and 223 lashes for on the unrelated charge that he was in an "illegitimate sexual relationship short of adultery." Karimi's lawyer told the U.S.-government-funded Radio Farda that the latter charge stems from his having "shaken a woman's hand and kissed her on the cheeks in greeting." Following that conviction, 136 Iranian filmmakers in December 2015 wrote an open letter asking an appeals court to overturn the verdict in December 2015. In February 2016, an appeals court reduced Karimi's prison term to one year, the filmmaker told The Associated Press at the time.

Karimi's lawyer, Amir Raeisian, told Radio Farda that the charges against the filmmaker stem from an unfinished documentary about graffiti from the 1979 revolution to the 2009 elections titled, "Writing on the City." Raeisian told the broadcaster that Karimi had acquired a license from the Ministry of Guidance and Islamic Culture to make the documentary.

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Kazakhstan: 3

Seytkazy Matayev, Kazakh Journalists' Union, the National Press Club of Kazakhstan

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
February 22, 2016

Seytkazy Matayev, the head of the Kazakh Journalists' Union and chairman of the National Press Club, and his son Aset Matayev, the director of independent news agency KazTag, were sentenced to six and five years in prison respectively on October 3, 2016, according to press reports.

The pair were detained in Almaty in February 2016 on charges of tax fraud and embezzlement of state funds. The Anticorruption Bureau initially accused Seytkazy Matayev of embezzling 380 million Kazakh tenge (US$1 million) transferred by the Kazakh Information Committee and state monopoly KazakhTelecom to the National Press Club and KazTag under a contract to promote national policies, local and international media reported. Authorities also accused Seytkazy Matayev of failing to pay 327 million tenge in taxes related to an unnamed, allegedly illegal enterprise. The same charges were brought against Aset Matayev, who was released after his initial arrest in February, but re-arrested in March.

Aset Matayev told CPJ in February 2016 that the charges were in retaliation for the pair's journalistic work. "We always reported the truth. [We] depicted the facts about developments in Kazakhstan as they really were. Someone in power did not like it," he said.

On the day of the Matayevs' initial arrest, the pair had planned to hold a press conference in Almaty accusing the government of politically motivated harassment.

Seytkazy Matayev is a veteran journalist who worked as President Nursultan Nazarbayev's spokesperson in 1991-93. In recent years, he headed the National Press Club in Almaty, where he hosted media events, debates, and press briefings by politicians, opposition members, and activists as well as businessmen and journalists. The club provided a rare platform of discussion in a country where freedom of speech has been under attack. It shared information on its website and on Twitter, and posted videos of its events on YouTube. The site also published investigative pieces, including commentary on the president's agricultural reforms, and a report on a gas station allegedly built illegally in Almaty. Seytkazy Matayev often said that he provides a platform for anybody who has anything interesting to say, and he denied being in opposition to the government.

During a hearing on September 27, 2016, Seytkazy Matayev said the reasons behind the prosecution were to "limit our professional activity, oppose the defense of the freedom of expression, and civil activism of journalists in Kazakhstan."

In addition to sentencing the Matayevs to prison, the court confiscated property, including the premises of the National Press Club. Seytkazy and Aset Matayev will be barred for life from holding managerial positions, according to media reports. Their attorneys have filed an appeal, which is due to be heard December 5, 2016.

The trial was held in the Kazakh capital Astana, where both defendants were transferred following the indictment. In Astana, they were kept under house arrest in a rental apartment during the trial, barred from using the internet or other means of communication, and allowed only visits from close family members, local media reported.

Seytkazy Matayev, who spoke to journalists at the airport while being transferred to Astana and at his trial hearings, told reporters that while under house arrest his health had deteriorated, and on at least one occasion guards denied him access to a doctor. He suffers from hypertension and heart palpitations, according to media reports. The first hearing in the trial, on August 23, 2016, was postponed after he was taken to a hospital to be treated for high blood pressure, according to press reports.

Daniil Kislov, chief editor of the Moscow-based independent regional news website, Ferghana News, told CPJ in September 2016 that the National Press Club and KazTag agency were "the last platforms for expressing free and independent voices in Kazakhstan." He said that, in his opinion, "The authorities are behind the prosecution. They want to turn KazTag, the country's largest news agency, into a propaganda machine."

The European Parliament, in a March 2016 resolution on freedom of expression in Kazakhstan, expressed concern about the pressure on independent media outlets and called on the Kazakh authorities to end the judicial targeting of Seytkazy and Aset Matayev.

Aset Matayev, KazTag

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
March 28, 2016

Aset Matayev, the director of independent news agency KazTag, and his father, Seytkazy Matayev, the head of the Kazakh Journalists' Union and chairman of the National Press Club, were sentenced to five and six years in prison respectively on October 3, 2016, according to press reports.

The pair were detained in Almaty in February 2016 on charges of tax fraud and embezzlement of state funds. The Anticorruption Bureau initially accused Seytkazy Matayev of embezzling 380 million Kazakh tenge (US$1 million) transferred by the Kazakh Information Committee and state monopoly KazakhTelecom to the National Press Club and KazTag under a contract to promote national policies, local and international media reported. Authorities also accused Seytkazy Matayev of failing to pay 327 million tenge in taxes related to an unnamed, allegedly illegal enterprise. The same charges were brought against Aset Matayev, who was released after his initial arrest in February, but re-arrested in March.

Aset Matayev told CPJ in February 2016 that the charges were in retaliation for the pair's journalistic work. "We always reported the truth. [We] depicted the facts about developments in Kazakhstan as they really were. Someone in power did not like it," he said.

On the day of the Matayevs' initial arrest, the pair had planned to hold a press conference in Almaty accusing the government of politically motivated harassment.

Seytkazy Matayev is a veteran journalist who worked as President Nursultan Nazarbayev's spokesperson in 1991-93. In recent years, he headed the National Press Club in Almaty, where he hosted media events, debates, and press briefings by politicians, opposition members, and activists as well as businessmen and journalists. The club provided a rare platform of discussion in a country where freedom of speech has been under attack. It shared information on its website and on Twitter, and posted videos of its events on YouTube. The site also published investigative pieces, including commentary on the president's agricultural reforms, and a report on a gas station allegedly built illegally in Almaty. Seytkazy Matayev often said that he provides a platform for anybody who has anything interesting to say, and he denied being in opposition to the government.

During a hearing on September 27, 2016, Seytkazy Matayev said the reasons behind the prosecution were to "limit our professional activity, oppose the defense of the freedom of expression, and civil activism of journalists in Kazakhstan."

In addition to sentencing the Matayevs to prison, the court confiscated property, including the premises of the National Press Club. Seytkazy and Aset Matayev will be barred for life from holding managerial positions, according to media reports. Their attorneys have filed an appeal, which is due to be heard December 5, 2016.

The trial was held in the Kazakh capital Astana, where both defendants were transferred following the indictment. In Astana, they were kept under house arrest in a rental apartment during the trial, barred from using the internet or other means of communication, and allowed only visits from close family members, local media reported.

Seytkazy Matayev, who spoke to journalists at the airport while being transferred to Astana and at his trial hearings, told reporters that while under house arrest his health had deteriorated, and on at least one occasion guards denied him access to a doctor. He suffers from hypertension and heart palpitations, according to media reports. The first hearing in the trial, on August 23, 2016, was postponed after he was taken to a hospital to be treated for high blood pressure, according to press reports.

Daniil Kislov, chief editor of the Moscow-based independent regional news website, Ferghana News, told CPJ in September 2016 that the National Press Club and KazTag agency were "the last platforms for expressing free and independent voices in Kazakhstan." He said that, in his opinion, "The authorities are behind the prosecution. They want to turn KazTag, the country's largest news agency, into a propaganda machine."

The European Parliament, in a March 2016 resolution on freedom of expression in Kazakhstan, expressed concern about the pressure on independent media outlets and called on the Kazakh authorities to end the judicial targeting of Seytkazy and Aset Matayev.

Bigeldy Gabdullin, Central Asia Monitor, Radiotochka

Medium:
Internet, Radio
Charge:
Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
November 15, 2016

Police arrested Gabdullin, chief editor and founder of Central Asia Monitor and director and founder of Radiotochka, for extortion on November 15, 2016. Gabdullin had been summoned to the National Anti-Corruption Bureau in Astana and detained without an arrest warrant for a "preliminary investigation," Radiotochka reported, citing a press release from the anti-corruption bureau.

According to the press release, Gabdullin allegedly used the independent websites Central Asia Monitor and Radiotochka to "conduct information attacks on heads of government agencies." The bureau accused Gabdullin, who is also president of the Kazakh PEN Club, of extorting monetary rewards from unnamed government officials in return for positive articles.

At a preliminary hearing on November 16, a judge ordered Gabdullin to be detained for two months while the case against him is investigated, Central Asia Monitor reported. A judge on November 28 denied a request by Gabdullin's lawyer that he be detained under house arrest instead of jail, Radiotochka reported.

On November 17, police searched the Almaty premises of Central Asia Monitor and Radiotochka. Afterwards, staff from Central Asia Monitor released a statement saying they were shocked by the arrest but determined to continue. They described the accusations against Gabdullin as "ridiculous" and "total nonsense" and praised their chief editor as "the smartest media manager in the country" who had been "under pressure" from the authorities.

A statement from PEN International said Gabdullin was arrested after publishing reports critical of government officials' business dealings.

Radiotochkapublished a series of reports in 2016 under the theme "Who owns Kazakhstan." The reports included information about businesses and property owned by the presidential family, members of parliament, regional governors, and city mayors. It also reported on business activities and property owned by opposition members, celebrities, athletes, and oligarchs. Many of the reports were based on public tax records or information released in the Panama Papers leak.

Tamara Kaleyeva, director of the local press freedom group Adil Soz, told CPJ that Gabdullin is a "brave journalist and a chief editor who was not afraid to raise serious issues and criticize our political clans." She said, "The authorities couldn't manage him because he is a very independent person."

Gabdullin, the author of Serious Conversation, and the award-winning The Great Nomads, is being held in a detention center in Astana. Kaleyeva told CPJ the arrest had affected the journalist's health, but did not provide further details.

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Kyrgyzstan: 1

Azimjon Askarov, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
June 15, 2010

Six years after sentencing Azimjon Askarov to life in prison, Kyrgyzstan continues to resist international calls for his immediate release. After the U.N. Human Rights Committee called on Kyrgyzstan to release Askarov because of his unjust detention, Kyrgyzstan's Supreme Court in July overturned its 2011 decision to deny the journalist's appeal and ordered a retrial. The re-trial began on October 4 and was ongoing on December 1, 2016, according to reports.

Askarov, a contributor to independent news websites, including Voice of Freedom and director of the local human rights group Vozdukh (Air), was convicted in September 2010 on charges that included incitement to ethnic hatred and complicity in the murder of a police officer. The charges were filed amid ethnic violence that swept southern Kyrgyzstan in June 2010. Askarov, an ethnic Uzbek, was documenting human rights violations in his hometown of Bazar-Korgon during the unrest.

A June 2012 CPJ special report based on interviews with Askarov, his lawyers, and defense witnesses, as well as a review of court documents, found that authorities had retaliated against Askarov for his reporting on corrupt and abusive practices among regional police and prosecutors. Askarov told CPJ that authorities had long threatened to retaliate against him. Askarov had exposed fabricated criminal cases, arbitrary detentions, and the rape and abusive treatment of detainees in his native Jalal-Abad region.

Authorities accused Askarov of inciting a crowd to kill a Kyrgyz police officer, a case built on the testimony of other officers who claimed the journalist had made provocative remarks. No witness testified to having observed the murder or having seen Askarov participate in any act of violence.

During the trial, Askarov and his lawyer were assaulted, and people who could have provided exculpatory testimony, including his wife and neighbors, were ignored by authorities or too frightened to testify, according to news reports. CPJ found other procedural violations in his case.

Authorities accused Askarov of urging another crowd to take a mayor hostage and claimed to have found 10 bullets when they searched Askarov's home. The journalist denies that any hostage was taken. The defense disputed the legitimacy of the evidence, noting that investigators had failed to produce witnesses to the search, a step required under Kyrgyz law.

A physician hired by the defense team examined Askarov in jail in December 2011 and concluded that he suffered severe and lasting effects from brutality. Askarov told CPJ that he was beaten with a gun, a baton, and a plastic bottle filled with water, once so badly that he lost consciousness.

Askarov's imprisonment has been challenged by the Kyrgyz government's human rights ombudsman and members of the U.N. In December 2012, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev publicly pledged to review the case if new evidence emerged, but prosecutors failed to pursue leads provided by Askarov's lawyers and CPJ. In November 2012, CPJ honored Askarov in absentia with its International Press Freedom Award.

In July 2015, Kyrgyz authorities publicly lashed out at the U.S. Department of State's decision to give its Human Rights Defenders' Award to Askarov, and terminated a 1993 cooperation agreement with the U.S. In September 2015, Kyrgyz authorities barred Karim Lahidji, head of the International Federation for Human Rights, and other members of the Paris-based organization from visiting Askarov in jail, news reports said.

CPJ submitted a report on Kyrgyzstan's press freedom record, which included Askarov's case, to the U.N. Human Rights Committee in March 2014. In a July 2014 meeting in Washington, CPJ asked Kyrgyz Prosecutor-General Aida Salyanova to reopen Askarov's case based on the statements made by defense witnesses. Salyanova told CPJ that prosecutors had declared the statements unfounded and that no corruption had been found in Askarov's case. In September 2014, a judge denied attempts by Askarov's lawyer to have the case reopened, regional press said.

The U.N. Human Rights Committee found in April 2016 that Askarov had been unjustly arrested, convicted, and imprisoned, and that Askarov had been held in inhumane conditions. The committee, which considered a complaint brought by Askarov against Kyrgyzstan, called for his conviction to be quashed.

Askarov is being held at a prison colony outside Bishkek, the journalist's son, Sherzod Askarov, told CPJ on September 29, 2016. According to the son, who spoke with CPJ over the phone, the journalist's health had deteriorated in recent months. "He is denied medical treatment from the doctors outside the prison. Nor is he allowed to see his lawyers. Only family members can have rare visits," Sherzod Askarov said.

A re-trial, which started October 4, 2016, is being held in the Chui regional criminal court. The judges denied a request for the journalist to be released for the duration of the trial, to enable him to get medical treatment, according to news reports.

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Mauritania: 1

Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mohamed, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Ethnic or religious insult
Imprisoned:
January 2, 2014

Mohamed, a blogger and freelance journalist, was sentenced to death on apostasy charges on December 24, 2014, according to news reports. He was arrested almost a year earlier, on January 2, 2014, in his home in the city of Nouadhibou in connection with an article he wrote that was published on the news website Aqlameon December 31, 2013.

On April 21, 2016 an appeals court in Nouadhibou upheld the death sentence, according to news reports.

The appeals court referred the case to Mauritania's Supreme Court, which has the power to repeal the sentence, reports said. Under article 306 in the Mauritanian penal code, under which he was charged, if the Supreme Court rules that a defendant is repentant, it can reduce the sentence to up to two years in jail and up to 60,000 Mauritanian ouguiya (US$172.93.)

The article for which he was arrested, called "Religion, religiosity and craftsmen," criticized Mauritania's caste system, an extremely delicate subject, and said that followers of Islam interpreted the religion according to circumstance, Reuters reported. Mohamed has frequently written articles for news websites that criticize Islamic religious beliefs and conservative practices in Mauritania.

The editor of Aqlame, Riad Ould Ahmed, took down the article from the website and issued a statement on January 4, 2014, saying it had been posted accidentally.

A few days after the initial death sentence was issued, Mauritania's ambassador to the United Nations said in reply to a statement by the International Humanist and Ethical Union that Mohamed had been imprisoned for his own safety in addition to violating the country's laws. Groups of people had called for his death in public protests in Mauritania after his article's publication, according to news reports.

Local news reports said the trial was attended by several religious leaders who insisted on monitoring the proceedings to ensure Shariah law was carried out. When the defendant was brought to court, some in the crowd celebrated by cheering "Allahu Akbar," the reports said. After the 48-hour trial ended with the death sentence, crowds appeared on the streets to celebrate the verdict.

Mohamed's lawyers filed an appeal with the court in late 2014, saying he had repented within the time frame required to have sentence amended, according to news reports. The last time Mauritania applied the death penalty was in 1987, news reports said.

Mohamed was being held in the central prison of Nouadhibou city, according to his family and news reports.

The Supreme Court was due to rule on the case on November 15, 2016, but delayed announcement of its ruling until December 20, 2016.

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Montenegro: 1

Jovo Martinović, Freelance

Medium:
Internet, Print, Television
Charge:
Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
October 22, 2015

Freelance journalist Martinović was detained on October 22, 2015, on suspicion of drug trafficking. An investigation into him and 17 other suspects lasted nearly six months and resulted in an April 8, 2016, indictment by Montenegro's Special Prosecutor's Office against him and 13 others, according to his family and journalists who have worked with him.

For months, the only evidence available to Martinović and his lawyer were allegations that the journalist had facilitated a meeting between drug dealers and buyers, and that he helped install a popular communications application-Viber-on the smart phone of the alleged leader of the drug scheme, Duško Martinović (no relation to the journalist). Jovo Martinović and his lawyer have denied any wrongdoing on the journalist's part. His interaction with the co-accused was in the context of his work as a reporter, his family and journalists with whom he worked, told CPJ.

The alleged leader of the drug scheme said during the first trial hearing in October 2016 that Jovo Martinović had contacted him only for journalistic purposes, according to regional press reports.

On December 1, 2016, Martinović pleaded not guilty to drug smuggling. He told the presiding judge any contact with suspects in the case was linked to his work as a journalist, Balkan Insight reported. The judge rejected an appeal for Martinović to be released while the trial continues.

On September 19, 2016, CPJ, Human Rights Watch, and Reporters Without Borders jointly wrote to Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Đukanović to call for Jovo Martinović's release. The following day, authorities gave access to Martinović's case file, including alleged evidence of his purported crime, to his lawyer, a family member told CPJ. Authorities rejected two requests by Martinović's lawyer for his release pending trial.

In response to the letter, Montenegro's prime minister's office rejected the groups' call for Martinović's release and denied his indictment was related to his journalism.

Martinović, an investigative journalist for over 15 years, has contributed reporting and research to international news outlets including The Economist, Newsday, Global Post, The Financial Times, and VICE, according to CPJ research. Martinović's work has often brought him into contact with criminals, according to international journalists with whom he worked. Matthew McAllester, editor of Newsweek Europe, recalled how Martinović had helped report on war criminals in the Balkans. "One of Jovo [Martinović]'s great talents is finding people involved in criminal activity and persuading them to speak to foreign journalists," McAllester told CPJ in April 2016.

Martinović helped VICE on the production of a 2014 documentary series about the Pink Panther jewel thieves, and worked with French production company CAPA Presse, which at the time of his arrest had hired him to do research and find sources for the documentary, "La route de la kalashnikov" (The Route of the Kalashnikov). The documentary, which aired on the French television channel, Canal+, on January 4, 2016, exposed illegal smuggling of weapons from the Balkans into Western Europe.

In August 2016, the Montenegrin independent daily Vijesti published a series of articles alleging that Montenegrin Special Prosecutor Mira Samardžić applied pressure on the alleged drug gang leader Duško Martinović to implicate Jovo Martinović in crimes he had not committed. The government did not comment on the allegations when it responded to CPJ's joint letter, which referenced Vijesti's articles.

Martinović did not appear on CPJ's 2015 census because details of his case had not been made public.

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Myanmar: 2

Wai Phyo, Daily Eleven

Medium:
Internet, Print
Charge:
Defamation
Imprisoned:
November 11, 2016

Police in the commercial capital of Yangon detained Than Htut Aung, chief executive of Eleven Media Group, and Wai Phyo, chief editor of the group's publication Daily Eleven, on November 11, 2016, on a criminal defamation charge filed by the Yangon regional government.

The complaint was filed under the country's Telecommunications Law in response to a November 6, 2016, opinion piece published in the Daily Eleven newspaper that alleged a minister was involved in corruption. A Facebook post made by Than Htut Aung on November 9, 2016, provided further details of the corruption allegations. Neither the opinion piece nor the social media post named the minister allegedly involved in corruption, and the Facebook post was deleted, according to press reports.

Chief Minister of Yangon Phyo Min Thein said in a press conference on November 9, 2016, that the Facebook post was intended to defame his "personal dignity" and that he denied the allegations, according to news reports. The Tarmwe Township court in Yangon declined to expedite Than Htut Aung's petition for bail during the case's first hearing on November 25, 2016, and at a subsequent hearing five days later, according to news reports.

If convicted of the charges, Wai Phyo faced a potential three years in prison. As of late 2016, he was jailed in Yangon's Insein prison.

Than Htut Aung, Eleven Media Group

Medium:
Internet, Print
Charge:
Defamation
Imprisoned:
November 11, 2016

Police in the commercial capital of Yangon detained Than Htut Aung, chief executive of Eleven Media Group, and Wai Phyo, chief editor of the group's publication Daily Eleven, on November 11, 2016, on a criminal defamation charge filed by the Yangon regional government.

The complaint was filed under the country's Telecommunications Law in response to a post on Than Htut Aung's Facebook page that alleged a minister was involved in corruption. The post provided further details to a November 6, 2016, opinion piece published in the Daily Eleven newspaper. Neither the article nor the social media post named the minister allegedly involved in corruption, and the Facebook post was deleted, according to press reports.

Chief Minister of Yangon Phyo Min Thein said in a press conference on November 9, 2016, that the Facebook post was intended to defame his "personal dignity" and that he denied the allegations, according to news reports. The Tarmwe Township court in Yangon declined to expedite Than Htut Aung's petition for bail during the case's first hearing on November 25, 2016, and at a subsequent hearing five days later, according to news reports.

Defense attorney Kyaw Lin said during proceedings that Than Htut Aung had suffered a heart attack while in pre-trial detention and that he was in need of immediate health care. If convicted of the charges, he faces a potential three years in prison. As of late 2016, he was detained in Yangon's Insein prison.

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Nigeria: 2

Jones Abiri, Weekly Source

Medium:
Print
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
July 21, 2016

Nine armed agents of Nigeria's State Security Service, an elite police force, arrested Abiri, the publisher of the Weekly Source tabloid newspaper, at his office in Yenagoa, in Nigeria's oil-rich southern state of Bayelsa, on July 21, 2016, according to news reports. The operatives searched Abiri's office and confiscated documents, the reports said.

The security service emailed a statement to Nigerian journalists on July 23, accusing Abiri of being the leader of the separatist group Joint Revolutionary Council of the Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force, and stating that the publisher had confessed to bombing oil pipelines, planning attacks in the capital Abuja, sending threatening messages to international oil companies, and being the mastermind of a hoax military coup against President Muhammadu Buhari. CPJ could not confirm that Abiri had made a confession.

Members of Abiri's family told CPJ they believe Abiri's arrest is connected to a July 10, 2016, edition of Weekly Source that republished a report that the military was contemplating a coup against Buhari. The claim was originally published in June on the news website Point Blank News.

Abiri's brother, Wariebi Abiri, told CPJ by telephone in mid-2016 that the allegations against his brother were strange because "[Abiri is] the type of person who stays away from trouble."

Jackson Ude, the publisher of U.S.-based Point Blank News, told CPJ that since publishing the story he has received threats from people he believes are working with the security services, and said he has been asked to remove the story from the website. Ude said he was warned that if he returned to Nigeria he would be arrested.

Another of Abiri's brothers, Daniel, told CPJ on November 11, 2016 that the family petitioned Bayelsa State High Court to seek Abiri's release, but the judge declined to hear the case because lawyers for the State Security Service said Abiri had committed treasonable felony and remained a threat to the nation.

Daniel Abiri said the security services had not charged Abiri and that the family and his lawyer have not been able to see or speak with Abiri. He said his brother is being held at the State Security Service headquarters in Abuja.

John Angese, the Bayelsa state chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, told CPJ the State Security Service has rebuffed all of the union's efforts in Abiri's case.

CPJ contacted State Security Service in July and November 2016, but the officers who answered the telephone calls said they were not authorized to speak about Abiri's case.

Friday Ogungbemi, Policy and Lawmakers

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Defamation
Imprisoned:
November 30, 2016

Nigeria's State Security Service arrested Friday Ogungbemi, the publisher of local magazine Policy and Lawmakers, on November 30, for allegedly defaming a governor and a chief of staff, according to local media reports.

Ogungbemi was charged with defamation under Section 393 of Nigeria's Penal Code, according to his lawyer J.U, Usman and reports. A prosecutor said that the journalist published an allegedly defamatory article about Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello and his chief of staff, Edward Onoja, in the November 23-December 15 edition of the magazine, News Nigeria reported.

At a news conference about his arrest, Ogungbemi's wife, Comfort, said that authorities removed copies of the magazine from the journalist's home in Lokoja, and that her husband had been denied access to his family. She said Ogunbemi has a terminal ailment, but did not specify the condition.

One news outlet reported that Bello ordered Ogungbemi's arrest. The state governor's office did not respond to CPJ's requests for comment.

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Panama: 1

Okke Ornstein, Bananama Republic

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Defamation
Imprisoned:
November 15, 2016

Okke Ornstein, a Panama-based journalist who runs the news website Bananama Republic, was arrested in relation to a 2012 criminal defamation conviction when he arrived at Panama City international airport on November 15, 2016, according to his lawyer, Manuel Succari.

Ornstein, a Dutch journalist, was convicted of criminal defamation on December 14, 2012, and sentenced to 20 months in prison after Monte Friesner, a Canadian, filed a complaint over a report by the journalist alleging that Friesner engaged in dubious business practices in Panama, according to news reports and court documents reviewed by CPJ.

Succari said an appeal was rejected in 2013. In 2015, the courts reissued an arrest warrant to keep the case active, although no attempt had been made to arrest Ornstein.

CPJ attempted to reach Friesner via Facebook messenger in November 2016 for comment, but did not immediately receive a response. Attempts by CPJ to reach the office of the public prosecutor in Panama for comment in late 2016 were unsuccessful.

The journalist's family said that Ornstein, who also reports for Dutch outlets and is a stringer for Al-Jazeera, regularly traveled to and from Panama since the 2012 conviction and a separate conviction a year later, without being stopped.

Ornstein's lawyer in the Netherlands, Channa Samkalden, told CPJ that Ornstein was convicted in the second criminal defamation case in 2013 and sentenced to 18 months in prison in relation to reports about the environmental and business practices of a company in Panama. As of December 1, 2016, following a series of court hearings, that prison sentence had been converted to a fine of US$3,500, and the journalist was held only on the 2012 conviction.

The business owners--Patricius Johannes Visser and Keren Visser--also filed a civil complaint in the Netherlands in December 2015, Samkalden said. Ornstein is appealing the default judgment in that case.

Ornstein's website, Bananama Republic, was unavailable in late 2016. An August 15, 2016, post on its Facebook page said the website has been closed pending legal proceedings in the Netherlands.

"It is an extraordinary situation, given that Ornstein has been living in Panama without any problem since the convictions and has left and returned to the country on numerous occasions since then," his lawyer, Samkalden said.

Kimberlyn David, Ornstein's partner, told CPJ the journalist is "holding up really well, despite the fact the he knows it is a very challenging situation." She said Ornstein has been in touch with the Dutch Embassy in Panama City.

As of late 2016, Ornstein was jailed in El Renacer prison, in the small city of Gamboa, outside of Panama City.

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Russia: 2

Zhalaudi Geriyev, Kavkazsky Uzel

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
April 16, 2016

Geriyev, a contributor to the independent regional news website Kavkazsky Uzel, was detained by police on April 16, 2016, in Russia's volatile North Caucasus republic of Chechnya while traveling to the region's capital, Grozny. The Shali district court sentenced him on September 5, 2016, to three years in prison on drug possession charges, according to his employer.

Geriyev, who reported on sensitive issues from Chechnya, including human rights abuses and official corruption, was detained while on his way to Grozny from Kurchaloi district, where he planned to fly to Moscow for a media conference, Kavkazsky Uzel's editor-in-chief, Gregory Shvedov, told CPJ. Geriyev's arrest came in the run-up to the September 18, 2016, parliamentary election in Russia, which coincided with the presidential vote in the Chechen republic.

Kavkazsky Uzel's editor-in-chief Gregory Shvedov told CPJ on September 22, 2016, that Geriyev had complained to him prior to his arrest that he believed he was under surveillance and had been followed for several days while out conducting interviews.

When officers took Geriyev off a bus headed to Grozny in April, they tied his hands with wire and tortured him by putting a plastic bag over his head and nearly suffocating him, according to his lawyer, and testimony the journalist gave at his trial. He said they threatened him and questioned him about his work as a journalist.

The journalist was forced to confess to carrying and using marijuana and officers planted 167 grams of the substance in his backpack, Geriyev said at the trial, according to his employer, Kavkazsky Uzel. At the concluding hearing, at Shali district court on September 5, 2016, Geriyev retracted his written confession, saying he was under duress from police at the time of the arrest. "I got a blow to the head and [was] shoved into a car. The bag with my ID, two telephones and a laptop computer was taken away," Geriyev was quoted as saying during the trial.

The journalist's attorney, Alaudi Musayev, told Kavkazsky Uzel the indictment was "full of inaccuracies." Shvedov told CPJ that the case marks a turning point in the Chechen authorities' crackdown on free media. "This is the first case that was fully fabricated, and a reporter was charged with a crime formally unrelated to his journalistic activity. Until now, we have had the cases of journalists [in Chechnya] who were prosecuted for being journalists. This sends a signal that the authorities are willing to take an extra step to silence independent voices," he told CPJ.

According to Shvedov, Geriyev was being held at Chernokozovo prison. The prison, which is about 60 kilometers from Grozny, is known for torture and beatings of inmates, according to Human Rights Watch. On September 9, 2016, his defense filed an appeal, citing fabricated materials in the case, according to Shvedov. Geriyev's appeal started November 15, 2016, at the Supreme Court of Chechnya, and was ongoing in late 2016.

Roman Sushchenko, Ukrinform

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
September 30, 2016

Russian security officers detained Sushchenko, a correspondent for Ukraine's state news agency Ukrinform, on September 30, 2016, when he arrived in Moscow from Paris, the Russian weekly Argumenty i fakty reported. He had travelled to Russia on vacation to visit relatives, according to his employer.

His arrest on espionage charges was not disclosed until the Public Monitoring Commission, a Russian human rights group, spotted him on an October 2, 2016, visit to the Lefortovo detention center in Moscow, according to Ukraine's Channel 24 TV. Until this date, neither his family nor employer knew his whereabouts. Sushchenko was not allowed to see his lawyer, Mark Feygin, until October 4, when the two met for 15 minutes, the news website Ukrainska Pravda reported. According to media reports, the Ukrainian consul was not permitted to meet with the journalist until October 10.

The press service of Russia's Federal Security Service, or FSB, said on October 3, 2016, that Sushchenko was a Ukrainian Defense Ministry intelligence officer who was in Russia "to collect classified information on the activities of the Russian military and national guard" that "could hurt Russia's defense capabilities if leaked abroad." The FSB said it had initiated a criminal case under article 276 of the criminal code for espionage.

Moscow's Lefortovo district court ordered Sushchenko be held in preliminary detention for two months, the U.S.-government funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported. On November 28, his detention was extended to January 30, 2017, Ukrinform told CPJ via email.

Sushchenko, who has been Ukrinform's Paris correspondent since 2010, denied the charge. Ukrinform dismissed the accusations of espionage as false and called the arrest a "planned provocation." The agency described Sushchenko as "a journalist with many years of impeccable professional reputation." According to the journalist's colleagues, Sushchenko covered French events such as local elections and meetings related to Ukraine and the European Union, and interviewed Ukrainian officials visiting Paris. He also covered meetings between Ukrainian and European Union officials on Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian Defense Intelligence denied the FSB's accusations, the news website Vector News reported.

In a statement reported by Ukrinform, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry called Sushchenko's arrest "another step in the purposeful policy of the Russian Federation to use Ukrainians, who are in the hands of the authorities, as political hostages in its hybrid aggression against our country."

Ukrinform quoted the journalist's attorney Mark Feygin as saying on October 14, 2016, that Sushchenko was in a good health and preparing for his defense.

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Saudi Arabia: 6

Hussein Malik al-Salam, Al-Fajr Cultural Network

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
February 23, 2012

Al-Salam, manager of the critical news website Al-Fajr Cultural Network, is serving a six-year prison jail after his original sentence was increased on appeal by the Specialized Criminal Court, according to reports. Security forces arrested al-Salam in the city of Jubail in February 2012 in connection with the site's coverage of pro-reform protests in Eastern province, news outlets reported. Another site manager, Habib al-Maatiq, was arrested the previous day. The website posts videos from Shia leaders including Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran and Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, as well as Saudi sheikhs.

According to a court indictment, the two were charged under Article 6 of the Anti-Cybercrime Law, which prohibits the production, storage, and transmission of material on information networks that disturbs public order, as well as establishing a website without a license.

On December 23, 2013 al-Maatiq was sentenced to one year in prison for establishing a website without a license, and al-Salam to three years, news reports said. Two other individuals who were accused of contributing to Al-Fajr and social media outlets were also sentenced: a teacher, Reda al-Baharna, to one year, and an engineer, Montazer al-Aqili, to five years.

On March 4, 2014, news reports said the Specialized Criminal Court increased sentences on appeal to two years for al-Maatiq and five years for al-Salam, according to news reports. The sentence for al-Baharna was increased to three and a half years and for al-Aqili to seven. In a final appeal in June, al-Salam's sentence was increased again to six years and al-Aqili's to eight, news reports said.

Al-Maatiq was released on August 5, 2014, after completing his sentence, according to news reports. The director of the independent rights group, European Saudi Organization for Human Rights, Ali Adubisi, told CPJ that al-Salam was being held at the General Intelligence Prison in the city of Dammam.

The kingdom obstructed coverage of Eastern province protests, which called for political reforms and greater rights for the country's Shia minority, CPJ research shows. In the absence of independent reporting, coverage of the unrest was carried out by websites such as Al-Fajr Cultural Network.

Raif Badawi, Free Saudi Liberal Network

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Ethnic or religious insult
Imprisoned:
June 17, 2012

Badawi, a blogger and the founder of an online discussion forum, was arrested by Saudi security forces in Jeddah on June 17, 2012, according to news reports. In July 2013, he was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment and 600 lashes on charges of defamation of religion. The sentence was increased on appeal in May 2014 to 10 years' imprisonment, 1,000 lashes, a fine of 1 million Saudi riyals (approximately US$267,000), and a 10-year ban on travel and media activity to begin after his release.

On June 7, 2015, news outlets reported the Saudi Supreme Court upheld Badawi's sentence. In December 2015, Badawi was transferred to Dhahban Central prison outside Jeddah, according to the Raif Badawi Foundation, established after Badawi's arrest by his wife Ensaf Haidar in Canada to promote freedom of speech in the Arab world. The foundation said the move was a shock because the prison is reserved for prisoners whose verdicts are final.

In an article published in August 2015, Haidar told the UK paper, The Independent, that a member of the Saudi justice ministry had told her the Supreme Court would review her husband's case again. In November that year the Swiss foreign ministry in Switzerland, which like other Western countries has been lobbying the government on Badawi's case, announced that the procedure to obtain a royal pardon had begun.

In January 2015, 50 of the 1,000 lashes were carried out in one public session, but no additional sessions had taken place as of late 2016. In a book she wrote about his case, Badawi's wife Haidar said he told her that the next set were delayed because a doctor said he wasn't in good enough health to receive them.

The charges stemmed from Badawi's support for free discussion of liberal values in Saudi Arabia, a country founded upon a strict interpretation of Islam. In 2006, Badawi founded an online discussion forum called "Saudi Liberals." By 2008, the forum had grown to more than 1,000 registered members who regularly discussed religion and politics.

In March 2008, Badawi was temporarily detained and his website shut down; two months later he fled the country, according to Human Rights Watch. But later that year, Badawi returned after prosecutors decided to not pursue charges.

In late 2008, Badawi and his partners upgraded the online forum and called it the Free Saudi Liberal Network, which garnered tens of thousands of registered members posting about religion and politics.

As influence of the forum grew, so did Badawi's presence in other media. He began writing columns for local websites including Al-Jazirah and Al-Bilad about the principles of secular, liberal thought and how to apply it to a Saudi context. In one article published in August 2010 for Al-Hewar al-Mutamaddin, an Arabic website for secular commentary, Badawi wrote "Freedom of expression is the air a thinker breathes, just as it is the fuel that lights the fire of his ideas." In one of the last articles for Al-Jazirah before his arrest, Badawi called on his readers not to blindly follow the Western model but to adopt the features of Saudi identity that are consistent with the "fundamental principles of liberalism."

According to English translations of court documents provided to CPJ by his family, Badawi received five years in prison for establishing the discussion forum and another five years for a series of Facebook posts the court deemed blasphemous. Only one of the discussion forum posts cited by the court was written by Badawi personally, according to the court documents.

Wajdi al-Ghazzawi, Al-Fajr Media Group

Medium:
Television
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
August 10, 2012

The Saudi Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh on February 4, 2014, sentenced al-Ghazzawi, owner of the religious satellite broadcaster Al-Fajr Media Group, to 12 years in prison for "harming the nation's image," according to the official Saudi Press Agency and regional human rights groups.

The prison sentence included a five-year term under Article 6 of the Anti-Cybercrime Law, which criminalizes the production of material impinging on public order and public morals, among other issues. The court also banned al-Ghazzawi for life from appearing on media outlets and forbade him to leave the country for 20 years.

The court said al-Ghazzawi had incited sedition and hurt the kingdom's reputation. Beginning in 2011, al-Ghazzawi hosted seven episodes of a show called "Fadfadah," in which he criticized the Saudi government and accused it of widespread corruption. In a few of the episodes, he claimed that the kingdom had adopted a policy of slavery and that Al-Qaeda had been created by Saudi Arabia.

During the trial, al-Ghazzawi said his show was intended to educate Saudi citizens and he repeated his belief that Al-Qaeda was a Saudi creation, according to news reports.

Al-Ghazzawi was also sentenced for receiving money from a hostile foreign power, the Saudi Press Agency reported. According to the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat, al-Ghazzawi was accused of taking approximately US$1.8 million from Libya's ousted leader, Col. Muammar Qaddafi. Al-Ghazzawi said the money was payment for the channel's coverage of a Quran recitation contest.

Al-Ghazzawi, who managed Al-Fajr from Cairo, returned to Riyadh in November 2011 to help secure funding for his struggling station, he wrote in an extended statement posted to his Twitter account. In the statement, he accused Saudi officials of luring him back to the country under false pretenses of helping to financially secure his channel when they intended to pressure it to close. He also said he was barred from leaving the country upon his return.

On August 10, 2012, he tweeted that he had been arrested. News reports said the arrest was related to the channel's inability to pay its debt. It was not clear when prosecutors turned their attention to the station's content and funding.

Over the next year, al-Ghazzawi's account remained active with tweets originating from users claiming to be a friend or employee and tweeting updates about his status in prison. On March 4, 2014, the account tweeted that al-Ghazzawi was in good health and had been transferred to a prison in Mecca.

In September 2015, colleagues operating al-Ghazzawi's Twitter account said he was waging a temporary hunger strike to protest conditions in the prison, including inadequate medical care. His Twitter account has not been updated since late 2015. CPJ was unable to determine his whereabouts or the current state of his health.

Jalal Mohamed al-Jamal, Al-Awamia

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
May 18, 2014

The Saudi Specialized Criminal Court on May 6, 2014, sentenced al-Jamal to five years' imprisonment and a fine of 50,000 riyals (US$13,330), according to local news reports. Al-Jamal, a manager of the Al-Awamia news website, was convicted on charges of establishing a website that called for protests, disobeying the king, and disrupting public security.

Twelve days later, on May 18, 2014, al-Jamal was taken into custody to begin serving his sentence, news reports said. In September 2014, al-Jamal's supporters wrote on Facebook that he refused to go to court or cooperate further with the judicial system, which he believed was illegitimate.

Al-Jamal had been arrested in February 2012 and held without charge. In March 2013, he was released without explanation, according to news reports.

Al-Awamia covered pro-reform demonstrations in the predominantly Shia Eastern province and was known for its criticism of the government, according to news reports. Al-Awamia was temporarily shut down after his arrest, the reports said. The kingdom has obstructed coverage of Eastern province protests, which call for political reforms and greater rights for the country's Shia minority, CPJ research shows.

The director of the independent rights group European Saudi Organization for Human Rights, Ali Adubisi, told CPJ in 2014 that al-Jamal was held at the General Intelligence Prison in the city of Dammam. As of late 2016, CPJ was unable to determine whether his location had changed or the details of his health.

Zuhair Kutbi, Freelance

Medium:
Print, Television
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 15, 2015

Saudi writer Zuhair Kutbi was arrested at his home in the city of Mecca on July 15, 2015, according to news reports. Mohamed Jameel, Kutbi's father, told CPJ that Kutbi was accused of inciting public opinion and offending symbols of the state, among other allegations.

According to the independent rights group European-Saudi Organization for Human Rights, Kutbi's trial on several charges, including verbally abusing public officials, calling for constitutional rule, and inciting public opinion, began on November 4, 2015 before the Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh. The court was founded in 2008 to try terrorism cases but has since been used to prosecute journalists, human rights defenders, and dissidents.

On December 21, 2015, the court sentenced Kutbi to four years' imprisonment, a five-year travel ban, a 15-year ban on media activity, and a 100,000 riyal fine (approximately US$ 26,700), according to his son Jameel. The court suspended the latter two years of the prison sentence. Kutbi was also ordered to delete his Twitter account.

An appeals court confirmed the sentence on February 23, 2016, Kutbi's son posted on Twitter.

According to the independent rights group, the European-Saudi Organization for Human Rights, Kutbi suffers from several medical conditions including high blood pressure and diabetes, and is not receiving adequate health care. In July 2016, his son Jameel tweeted after a brief prison visit that Kutbi's health had deteriorated so much in prison that "he will not live to complete his sentence."

Kutbi wrote regularly for the news website Makkah Online as well as his personal website, and often criticized the government in Saudi Arabia. He has published several books on topics encompassing politics, geography, history, and social and philosophical issues.

On June 22, 2015 he appeared as a guest on a talk show called "Fi Al-Sameem" (In Depth), which airs on the privately owned channel Rotana Khaleejia during the month of Ramadan. On the show, Kutbi criticized the country's National Dialogue as a waste of time and money, and said his remarks had been edited out of the broadcast of the most recent meeting. Participants of the National Dialogue gather once a year to discuss issues including reform, extremism, and national unity. Kutbi also criticized the government for not upholding promises of reform, as well as Saudi intellectuals for not pushing for reform stringently enough.

On July 2, 2015, two weeks before Kutbi's arrest, the government suspended "Fi Al-Sameem" on accusations that another guest insulted the recently deceased King Abdullah during a June 30, 2015 broadcast, according to news reports. It did not broadcast any new episodes through the end of Ramadan in mid-July.

Jassim al-Safar, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 8 or 9, 2012

Al-Safar, a photographer from Saudi Arabia's Eastern province, was arrested in July 2012, according to news reports. The government accused al-Safar of belonging to an 11-person terrorist cell, but it was not clear how the defendants were connected.

On June 18, 2014, the Saudi Specialized Criminal Court sentenced al-Safar to seven years' imprisonment and a seven-year travel ban on charges of sending material over the internet that would harm the country's reputation, corresponding with a foreign journalist, and organizing protests, among other charges, news reports said. It is not clear which work of al-Safar's led to his conviction.

Al-Safar took pictures for the website Awamphoto, which also identifies him as Jassim al-Awami. The website features pictures of cultural and religious events and rallies from Awamia, a Shia-majority town that has witnessed significant opposition protests against the Sunni Saudi government in recent years. The website also published photos of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a Shia religious leader who was sentenced to death in October 2014 for "sowing discord" and "undermining national unity," according to news reports. Al-Nimr had strongly supported anti-government protests in Eastern province since 2011. His arrest in 2012, in which he was shot by Saudi security forces, and his execution in 2016 set off new protests.

The director of the independent rights group European Saudi Organization for Human Rights, Ali Adubisi, told CPJ that al-Safar was being held at the General Intelligence Prison in the city of Dammam. CPJ could not determine in late 2016 details of al-Safar's health or whether he had appealed his conviction.

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Singapore: 2

Ai Takagi , The Real Singapore

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
February 2015

Ai Takagi, editor and reporter at The Real Singapore news website, pled guilty to four counts of sedition on March 8, 2016, based on four articles published on the site, according to news reports.

District Judge Salina Ishak found that the articles in question "were intended from the outset to provoke unwarranted hatred against foreigners in Singapore," and sentenced her to 10 months in prison for sedition, reports said.

Takagi, an Australian citizen who was two months pregnant at the time of her conviction, was released on bail after the March 23 verdict to allow her a month to settle her personal affairs before reporting to prison, news reports said. She began serving her sentence on April 22, reports said.

Her husband and the site's owner, Yang Kaiheng, was convicted in June on six sedition counts over the same articles. He was sentenced to eight months in prison.

Takagi read an apology in court saying she was not "fully aware" of the sensitivity of racial and religious issues in Singapore while editing the site, and admitted that certain stories were fabricated, reports said. She admitted to using a fake male pseudonym to post controversial articles, The Associated Press reported. The 10-month prison sentence was the harshest ever handed down under the Sedition Act, which allows for maximum three year jail terms, the report said.

One of the articles in question identified a Filipino family as having stoked violence during a Hindu religious ceremony, according to news reports. Another report alleged that a Chinese woman had encouraged her grandson to urinate in a bottle while traveling on Singaporean public transport, reports said.

The website published mainly articles from volunteers that appeared on the site without much editorial control, the reports said. The news website was the first to have its license revoked by a state media regulatory board formed under regulations introduced for online media in 2013, according to CPJ research.

Takagi was being held at Changi Women's Prison, according to news reports.

Yang Kaiheng, The Real Singapore

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
February 2015

Yang Kaiheng, owner of The Real Singapore news website, pled guilty to six counts of sedition on June 24, 2016, according to news reports. Yang had maintained his innocence at the outset of the seven day trial, but changed his plea halfway through the proceedings, news reports said.

District Judge Chay Yuen Fatt found that Yang allowed articles with "xenophobic and racist feelings" to be published on the site and on June 28 sentenced him to eight months in prison for sedition, reports said.

Fatt ruled that while Yang was not the author of the four articles in question he had "full control" of the site, which the judge characterized as Yang's "brainchild." He ruled the website exploited nationalistic feelings "purely for financial gain and not for noble ideologies, misguided or otherwise."

One of the articles in question identified a Filipino family as having stoked violence during a Hindu religious ceremony, according to news reports. Another report alleged that a Chinese woman had encouraged her grandson to urinate in a bottle while traveling on Singaporean public transport, reports said. Yang was also convicted for uploading what the presiding judge deemed a seditious Facebook post and for failing to hand over documents to investigating police.

The website published mainly crowd-sourced articles that appeared on the site without much editorial control, the reports said. The news website was the first to have its license revoked by a state media regulatory board formed under regulations introduced for online media in 2013, according to CPJ research.

Yang began serving his prison term on July 6, according to reports. He was being held at the island state's Changi prison, reports said.

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Syria: 7

Tal al-Mallohi, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
December 27, 2009

Al-Mallohi, a blogger, was detained in December 2009 after she was summoned for questioning by security officials, according to local rights groups. In February 2011, she was sentenced by a state security court to five years in prison on charges of disclosing state secrets.

The privately owned newspaper Al-Watan said in October 2010 that al-Mallohi was suspected of spying for the United States. But lawyers allowed into the closed court session said the judge "did not give evidence or details as to why she was convicted," the BBC reported. The U.S. State Department condemned the trial, saying in a statement that the allegations of espionage were baseless.

In October 2013, a Syrian court ordered al-Mallohi's release, news reports said. But the order was never carried out and she was transferred to the General Security Directorate in Damascus, according to Amnesty International and news reports. After several months, she was returned to Adra prison on the outskirts of Damascus, the reports said.

It is not clear why al-Mallohi remains in custody despite the court order for her release. Her sentence would have expired by early 2016.

Al-Mallohi's blog was devoted to Palestinian rights and was critical of Israeli policies. It also discussed the frustrations of Arab citizens with their governments and what she perceived to be the stagnation of the Arab world. Al-Mallohi's case gained widespread attention in the Arab blogosphere, on social media websites, and with human rights activists worldwide.

In October 2016, CPJ emailed the Syrian mission to the United Nations asking for information on Al-Mallohi's legal status and health. The mission did not respond. Thousands of Syrians have disappeared into Syrian custody since the start of the uprising in 2011. According to a 2015 Human Rights Watch report, families are often forced to pay large bribes to learn any information about their relatives, and other families never approach the security branches for fear of being arrested themselves. Of 27 families of deceased prisoners interviewed by Human Rights Watch for the report, only two received formal death certificates.

Jihad Jamal, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
March 7, 2012

Jamal, a contributor to local news websites, was detained at a Damascus café along with several human rights activists, according to local news websites. Jamal also aggregated news stories for dissemination to international outlets.

In May 2012, Jamal's case was transferred to a military court, according to news reports. He waged a hunger strike that month to protest his detention, reports said. Authorities had not disclosed any other information about Jamal's legal status, whereabouts, or well-being in late 2016.

In October 2016, CPJ emailed the Syrian mission to the United Nations asking for information on Jamal's legal status and health. The mission did not respond. Thousands of Syrians have disappeared into Syrian custody since the start of the uprising in 2011. According to a 2015 Human Rights Watch report, families are often forced to pay large bribes to learn any information about their relatives, and other families never approach the security branches for fear of being arrested themselves. Of 27 families of deceased prisoners interviewed by Human Rights Watch for the report, only two received formal death certificates.

Jamal had been arrested several times previously, including once in October 2011 when he was detained along with Sean McAllister, a British reporter working for the U.K.'s Channel 4. Local news websites said his repeated arrests stemmed from his reporting on human rights abuses and the popular uprising.

Ali Mahmoud Othman, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
March 28, 2012

Othman, who ran a makeshift media center in the besieged Baba Amr district of Homs, was initially held by a military intelligence unit in Aleppo and then transferred to Damascus, Paul Conroy, a photographer for The Sunday Times, said in an interview with the U.K.'s Channel 4.

Conroy, who was injured in the government attack on the Baba Amr media center that killed journalists Marie Colvin and Rémi Ochlik, said Othman was instrumental in getting journalists in and out of the embattled district. He said Othman, originally a vegetable vendor, was one of the first Syrians to use video to document the unrest in Homs. Citizen journalists such as Othman filled the information void as the Syrian regime barred international journalists from entering the country to cover the civil war, CPJ research shows.

Othman appeared on Syrian state television in May 2012 for what the station described as an interview. The questioning was aimed at asserting a theory of an international media conspiracy against the Syrian regime.

International reporters and diplomats, including the U.K.'s then Foreign Secretary William Hague, said they were concerned that Othman has been tortured while in custody, according to news reports. The reports did not specify details of what allegedly happened to him.

Authorities had not disclosed information on Othman's health, whereabouts, or legal status as of late 2016. In October 2016, CPJ emailed the Syrian mission to the United Nations asking for information on Othman's legal status and health. The mission did not respond. Thousands of Syrians have disappeared into Syrian custody since the start of the uprising in 2011. According to a 2015 Human Rights Watch report, families are often forced to pay large bribes to learn any information about their relatives, and other families never approach the security branches for fear of being arrested themselves. Of 27 families of deceased prisoners interviewed by Human Rights Watch for the report, only two received formal death certificates.

Osama al-Habaly, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
August 18, 2012

Al-Habaly, a Syrian freelance photojournalist, was arrested as he crossed from Lebanon back to Syria, according to his friends and colleagues.

Al-Habaly's work is featured in several shorts for the Abounaddara Collective, a group of anonymous filmmakers that published short clips on the Syrian conflict once a week starting in 2011, a representative of the group told CPJ.

A Facebook user posted in September 2012 that he had seen al-Habaly while being held in the military security branch in Homs. Amnesty International reported in October 2012 that an unidentified source told al-Habaly's family he had been transferred to the military intelligence branch in Damascus.

A Syrian lawyer, who asked for anonymity for fear of retribution, told CPJ in August 2014 that al-Habaly had been referred to a military field court and was being held in Sednaya Prison near Damascus, but did not offer further details. CPJ could not independently confirm the claim.

Sednaya prison has long been known for the brutal treatment of its detainees, even before the Syrian conflict began. At least one journalist, Palestine Today TV reporter Bilal Ahmed Bilal, died in either late 2013 or early 2014 while in custody in Sednaya, his station reported. Reports by local human rights groups and news outlets said he had been tortured to death.

By late 2016, the Syrian government had not disclosed any information about al-Habaly's health, whereabouts, or legal status. In October 2016, CPJ emailed the Syrian mission to the United Nations asking for information on al-Habaly's legal status and health. The mission did not respond. Thousands of Syrians have disappeared into Syrian custody since the start of the uprising in 2011. According to a 2015 Human Rights Watch report, families are often forced to pay large bribes to learn any information about their relatives, and other families never approach the security branches for fear of being arrested themselves. Of 27 families of deceased prisoners interviewed by Human Rights Watch for the report, only two received formal death certificates.

Fares Maamou, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
October 1, 2012

Maamou, a contributor to the Damascus-based Shaam News Network, was arrested in Homs, according to accounts from local activists and press freedom groups. Maamou had been covering events in the Homs neighborhoods of Deir Baalba and al-Rabee al-Arabi for the network, contributing reporting and footage.

Shaam has posted tens of thousands of videos documenting the unrest in Syria since the uprising began in March 2011. The network's footage has been used by international news organizations such as Al-Jazeera and the BBC.

Authorities had not disclosed any information on Maamou's whereabouts, well-being, or legal status as of late 2016. In October 2016, CPJ emailed the Syrian mission to the United Nations asking for information on Maamou's legal status and health. The mission did not respond. Thousands of Syrians have disappeared into Syrian custody since the start of the uprising in 2011. According to a 2015 Human Rights Watch report, families are often forced to pay large bribes to learn any information about their relatives, and other families never approach the security branches for fear of being arrested themselves. Of 27 families of deceased prisoners interviewed by Human Rights Watch for the report, only two received formal death certificates.

Akram Raslan, Al-Fedaa

Medium:
Internet, Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
October 2, 2012

Raslan, a cartoonist who worked for the Hama-based newspaper Al-Fedaa and contributed to several other news websites, was arrested by intelligence officials at his workplace in Hama, according to news reports. Raslan's cartoons, which criticized the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, had been published on his blog and a number of websites, including that of Al-Jazeera.

Conflicting reports emerged about Raslan's status. Cartoon Rights Network International (CRNI), which has closely tracked Raslan's case, reported that he might have been executed by the Syrian regime after being sentenced to life imprisonment on July 26, 2013. But after reports emerged in October 2013 that Raslan was still alive and his family said it could not confirm his death, CRNI amended its statement and said it was working to verify those claims.

In June 2014, CRNI reported that the Syrian permanent mission to the United Nations admitted that Raslan had been arrested for publishing cartoons that "offended the state's prestige" and that he was under investigation.

But in September 2015, the Syrian news outlet Souriatna Press reported Raslan had died in custody a few months after his arrest, citing an unnamed detainee who was recently released from prison. According to the detainee, Raslan died in a hospital where he had been transferred for treatment after his health deteriorated in connection with torture. The report prompted a wide outpouring of support for Raslan from Syrian journalists, cartoonists, and activists.

As of late 2016, the Syrian government had not publicly confirmed or denied the Souriatna Press report. CPJ called the Syrian permanent mission to the United Nations in October 2015 and was told to send questions about Raslan via email. CPJ had not received any response to its questions as of late 2016.

Thousands of Syrians have disappeared into Syrian custody since the start of the uprising in 2011. According to a 2015 Human Rights Watch report, families are often forced to pay large bribes to learn any information about their relatives, and other families never approach the security branches for fear of being arrested themselves. Of 27 families of deceased prisoners interviewed by Human Rights Watch for the report, only two received formal death certificates.

CPJ continues to list Raslan on the prison census as a means of holding the government accountable for his fate.

Jihad As'ad Mohamed, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
August 10, 2013

Mohamed was last seen being taken away by security forces on Revolution Street in Damascus in August 2013, according to local and regional news reports and a Facebook page calling for his release.

Mohamed, a freelance writer, had contributed several critical articles to local news websites, including the pro-reform Alef Today. In his articles, he criticized the government's crackdown on peaceful protests and called for reforms.

Mohamed was the editor-in-chief of the weekly Kassioun before leaving the paper in the summer of 2012, citing a disagreement with the paper's editorial position, according to a staff member at Kassioun who spoke to CPJ. The paper is affiliated with the socialist Popular Will party, which has shown a willingness to engage with the Syrian government, which other opposition groups vehemently refuse to do.

Syrian state security forces had previously held Mohamed for questioning in connection with his journalistic activities after leaving Kassioun, according to news reports that did not specify the exact date of the earlier detention. The journalist had joined Kassioun in 2006, the reports said.

In late 2016, authorities had not disclosed Mohamed's whereabouts, condition, or legal status. In October 2016, CPJ emailed the Syrian mission to the United Nations asking for information on Mohamed's legal status and health. The mission did not respond. Thousands of Syrians have disappeared into Syrian custody since the start of the uprising in 2011. According to a 2015 Human Rights Watch report, families are often forced to pay large bribes to learn any information about their relatives, and other families never approach the security branches for fear of being arrested themselves. Of 27 families of deceased prisoners interviewed by Human Rights Watch for the report, only two received formal death certificates.

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Thailand: 1

Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, Voice of Taksin

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
April 30, 2011

Somyot was arrested at a Thai border checkpoint at Aranyaprathet province while attempting to cross into Cambodia. He was held without bail in a Bangkok detention center for 84 days, the maximum period allowable under Thai law, before lèse majesté charges were filed against him on July 26, 2011.

Somyot faced two separate charges under the country's lèse majesté law, which prohibits material deemed offensive to the royal family. Convictions under the law carry a maximum 15-year jail term.

On January 23, 2013, a Bangkok court sentenced Somyot to 11 years in prison for news articles that judges deemed insulting to the Thai monarchy, according to local and foreign news reports. The charges stemmed from two articles published in the now-defunct Voice of Taksin, a highly partisan news magazine affiliated with the political group United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship, which closed during a government crackdown on the group in May 2010.

Somyot, a labor activist and political protest leader, was founder and editor of the publication. He initially refused to divulge the name of the author of the articles, but during testimony in court identified the individual as Jakrapob Penkair, a former government spokesman living in self-imposed exile in Cambodia. The articles, published in February and March 2010, were written under the pen name "Jit Polachan."

Days before his arrest, Somyot had started a petition to pressure parliament into removing article 112, the lèse majesté law, from the criminal code, according to reports. Under the law, any Thai individual may file lèse majesté charges. Thai royal family members have never personally filed charges.

Somyot filed an appeal on April 1, 2013. He was denied bail on 16 occasions on the grounds that he may flee the country, reports said. His family and supporters submitted a 17th application for bail pending a decision in the Supreme Court case in April 2015.

Somyot's wife and son, both of whom have campaigned for his unconditional release, were briefly detained on May 24, 2014, two days after the military seized power, according to press reports. Military authorities confiscated two of their laptop computers. No charges were filed.

On September 18, 2014, Thailand's Court of Appeals upheld Somyot's conviction and 10-year jail sentence. The court failed to inform Somyot, his defense lawyers, and his family that the hearing would take place on that day, according to local news reports. On November 19, 2014, Somyot's lawyers appealed the verdict to the Supreme Court. The motion was still pending in late 2016.

Somyot, who has hypertension, has been deprived of adequate medical treatment, according to the International Federation for Human Rights, a global rights group. He was being held at Bangkok's Remand Prison in late 2016.

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Tunisia: 1

Mohamed Naem Haj Mansour, Al-Thawra News

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
October 3, 2016

A Tunisian military court ordered the arrest of Mohamed Naem Haj Mansour during a hearing on October 3, 2016, according to his outlet and other news reports. Mansour was summoned to the hearing as a witness, but the court changed his status to a defendant while in session, Mansour's lawyer told Tunisian news outlets.

The case concerns two articles published on Mansour's website, Al-Thawra News, in early 2016 alleging financial corruption in the Tunisian military. Mansour is charged with "insulting the armed forces." If convicted, he could face up to three years in prison. Mansour denies the charges, and maintains that everything published in his articles is true, according to his outlet and statements by his lawyers to the press.

Al-Thawra News is an online journal focusing on corruption in Tunisia. Mansour is the director and founder of the site.

In late October, Mansour's family held a press conference in which his relatives called his trial and detention "political." Mansour was prevented from leaving the country in July, according to the family and Al-Thawra News.

Appeals by lawyers for the journalist's release to a civilian appellate court were denied in October and again in November, according to news reports. The court maintained that the case was in the remit of the military justice system, and therefore it could not rule to release him.

Mansour was being held in Marnaqia prison, according to his outlet. A November 24 military court hearing was adjourned to a later date at the request of defense lawyers, who asked for time to prepare documents.

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Turkey: 81

Hatice Duman, Atılım

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
April 9, 2003

Duman, former owner and news editor of the socialist weekly Atılım (Leap), was serving a life term at Gebze women's closed prison in Kocaeli on charges of being a member of the banned Marxist Leninist Communist Party, or MLKP, producing propaganda, and "attempting to change the constitutional order by force." Other charges against her included seizing weapons and forging an official document in relation to her alleged association with MLKP, according to a list of imprisoned journalists provided by the Turkish Justice Ministry in November 2013 at CPJ's request.

Duman denied all the charges. CPJ believes the charges are baseless and unsubstantiated after viewing the available court documents, including the indictment.

As evidence of the membership and propaganda charges, authorities cited Duman's attendance at MLKP demonstrations and the testimony of confidential witnesses. Duman's lawyer, Keleş Öztürk, told CPJ that his client was targeted because Atılım had opposed administration policies.

The weapons and forgery charges were mainly pegged to the testimony of Duman's husband, who later said police had threatened sexual violence against his family if he didn't testify against his wife, according to the independent news portal Bianet.

Duman was convicted on all charges on May 4, 2011, according to local press reports.

In September 2012, the Supreme Court of Appeals upheld the life sentence. Duman's lawyers appealed to Turkey's Constitutional Court, claiming that the evidence used to convict her was gathered illegally and was not properly investigated, that the statement of a fellow defendant used against her was inadmissible, that a request for legal aid to hire her own lawyer had been refused, that the court that convicted her was not impartial, and that the process had lasted longer than was reasonable, according CPJ's review of the court documents.

The Constitutional Court in October 2015 ruled in her favor and sent the case file back to Istanbul's 12th Court for Serious Crimes for a retrial. That retrial was in progress in late 2016.

Kenan Karavil, Radyo Dünya

Medium:
Radio
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
December 7, 2009

Karavil, editor-in-chief of the pro-Kurdish radio station Radyo Dünya in the southern province of Adana, served more than three years in prison before being convicted on charges of being a member of the banned Union of Communities in Kurdistan, or KCK, and the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK.

As evidence, authorities cited news programs that Karavil produced, his meetings with members of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, and his wiretapped telephone conversations with colleagues, listeners, and news sources, his lawyer, Vedat Özkan, told CPJ. In one phone conversation, Karavil discussed naming a program "Those Who Imagine the Island," the lawyer said. He said the indictment considered this illegal propaganda because it referred to the imprisonment of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, who was being held in a prison on İmralı Island.

In a January 2012 letter to media outlets, Karavil said authorities questioned him about the station's ownership and the content of its programming. Court officials refused to allow Karavil to give statements in his native Kurdish language, Özkan said.

In January 2013, the Eighth Court of Serious Crimes in Adana Province sentenced Karavil to 25 years in prison, Özkan told CPJ. In October 2014, Özkan said the Supreme Court of Appeals had upheld the sentence.

He is currently at the Kırıkkale F Type High Security Closed Prison in Adana, Özkan told CPJ.

Özkan also told CPJ that an appeal Karavil had filed with Turkey's Constitutional Court in 2014 was still pending in late 2016.

Seyithan Akyüz, Azadiya Welat

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
December 7, 2009

Akyüz, the Adana correspondent for the Kurdish-language daily Azadiya Welat (Homeland's Freedom) was serving a 12-year term at Izmir Kırıklar Prison. Before his arrest, according to a letter he sent to the independent news website Bianet in March 2016, in addition to his reporting job with Azadiya Welat the journalist was helping with the newspaper's distribution as well as the distribution of another pro-Kurdish daily, Özgur Gündem, in the region. Occasionally, the letter said, Akyüz also reported for the pro-Kurdish Dicle News Agency, in Kurdish. All three media outlets were shut down on October 29, 2016, by an emergency decree that accused them of having ties to terrorist organizations and representing a threat to national security.

Akyüz was initially charged with aiding the banned Union of Communities in Kurdistan, or KCK, an umbrella group of pro-Kurdish organizations that includes the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK. Authorities cited as evidence his possession of banned newspapers and his presence at a May Day demonstration in İzmir. He was later convicted of membership in an armed terrorist organization, the PKK.

Authorities publicly claim that the pro-Kurdish media are aligned with the PKK and the KCK. The government says the journalists produce propaganda in favor of the banned organizations.

A 2012 trial in Adana made national news when the judge refused to allow Akyüz and other defendants to offer statements in their native Kurdish. In his March 2016 letter to Bianet, the journalist said he was never allowed to testify in court. A June 2014 report by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe also found that court officials withheld case documents from Akyüz's lawyer for more than a year.

In late 2016, Akyüz was waiting for Turkey's Constitutional Court to decide whether it would hear an appeal in his case, his lawyer told CPJ.

Erdal Süsem, Eylül Sanat Edebiyat Dergisi

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
February 1, 2010

Süsem, editor of the leftist culture magazine Eylül Sanat Edebiyat Dergisi (September Arts Literature Magazine), was being held at Edirne F Type Prison on charges of helping lead the outlawed Maoist Communist Party, or MKP. Authorities alleged that Süsem's magazine produced propaganda for the party. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.

In a letter published in February 2012 by the independent news portal Bianet, Süsem said he had been detained on the MKP accusations and charged in February 2010. He said the evidence against him consisted of journalistic material such as books, postcards, and letters, along with accounts of his newsgathering activities such as phone interviews. Süsem made similar statements in a letter to the Justice Ministry that was cited in news accounts.

Süsem started the magazine, which featured poetry, literature, and opinion pieces from imprisoned socialist intellectuals, during an earlier imprisonment at Tekirdağ F Type Prison. After producing the initial four editions on a photocopier from prison, Süsem transformed the journal into a print publication after his 2007 release from prison and circulated 16 more issues.

Süsem's earlier imprisonment stemmed from allegations in March 2000 that he stole a police officer's handgun that was later used in a murder. Süsem pleaded not guilty to the gun theft and murder charges. The gun possession and related serious charges against Süsem were twice rejected by Turkey's Supreme Court, which ruled in 2005 and 2007 that there was insufficient evidence to link Süsem to the crimes.

However, without new evidence, after Süsem was imprisoned in 2010 on the propaganda charges, the Supreme Court reversed its stance and convicted him in 2011 on gun theft, murder, and other charges. The court also reinstated a life sentence.

The court proceedings that led to his conviction were marked by a number of inconsistencies. For example, in his Bianet letter, Süsem wrote that the police officer, whose stolen gun was later used in a number of crimes, testified that Süsem was not the person who had stolen it. Witness descriptions of the suspect did not match the journalist, Süsem's wife, Eylem, told CPJ.

Eylem Süsem told CPJ that her husband had appealed the life sentence at the European Court of Human Rights, citing long imprisonment and an unjust trial. The European Court, Eylem Süsem told CPJ, decided in 2016 in favor of her husband's claim on the long imprisonment appeal, and mandated that Turkey pay compensation of about 8000 Turkish liras to the journalist. The claim of unjust trial is still pending, Eylem Süsem said; Turkey has asked for additional time to prepare a response for the European Court on the unjust trial complaint.

Eylem Süsem said a separate trial on charges of MKP propaganda and MKP leadership-both linked to contents of the Eylül Sanat Edebiyat Dergisi magazine-continued in 2015.

In late 2016, she told CPJ that a trial on the MKP propaganda charge was still in progress, but that an Istanbul court had in May 2016 dismissed defense lawyer's move for a retrial on the charges of murder and of being a leader of a terrorist organization. As of late 2016, the journalist's appeal to the Constitutional Court was pending, his wife told CPJ.

Mehmet Baransu, Taraf

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
March 1, 2015

Police detained Baransu, a former columnist and correspondent for the daily Taraf, on March 1, 2015, from his home in Istanbul, according to his lawyer and news reports. A court on March 2 arraigned the journalist and jailed him pending trial on charges of obtaining secret documents. Authorities subsequently added new charges, but if convicted on the obtaining secret documents charge alone, he could face up to eight years in prison.

His lawyer, Sercan Sakallı, told CPJ that a court order has ruled that the investigation is secret, limiting his access to the evidence against his client.

He added that authorities have focused on a document titled "The Sovereign Action Plan" that was part of a packet of documents Baransu shared with prosecutors in 2010. That document, the lawyer said, was never made public, and authorities did not previously question the reporter's possession of a classified document.

In 2010 Baransu broke the news of an alleged military coup plan that came to be known as Sledgehammer. Written by Baransu and other then-editors of Taraf as a series, the Sledgehammer story was based on what were said to be military documents leaked to Baransu by an anonymous source. "The Sovereign Action Plan" was among these documents, but it was not reported on because it was not related to the alleged coup plan, according to local reports. In court testimony, Baransu said he delivered the documents he had received from the anonymous source to prosecutors in 2010, after Taraf published its series. The documents were then used by Turkish prosecutors to start an investigation in which hundreds of suspects, including journalists, were tried on anti-state charges.

On June 30, 2015, the Anadolu Second Court of the First Instance sentenced Baransu to 10 months in prison on additional charges of insulting president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a series of tweets and retweets about allegations of government corruption in December 2013, Sakallı told CPJ at the time. Sakallı then said some of the tweets had been issued from accounts impersonating the journalist.

Sakallı also told CPJ that several other cases are pending in Turkish courts against Baransu that stem from his critical reporting in 2013 on issues such as the alleged genetic modification of food products in Turkey and government wrongdoing. In these cases, Baransu is accused of being a member of the alleged Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization-a charge that carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, the lawyer said.

A new set of charges were added to Baransu's list of alleged crimes in 2016, according to press reports.

As of late 2016, Baransu and four other former Taraf journalists and an author faced another trial in connection the alleged "Sledgehammer" conspiracy, according to press reports. Istanbul's 13th Court for Serious Crimes was considering new charges of "founding and leading an armed terrorist organization," "making propaganda for [a terrorist] organization," "exposing information that is to be kept secret for the safety and political benefit of the state," "obtaining secret documents concerning the safety of the state," and "damaging, using outside of its purpose, [and] obtaining [or] stealing ... documents concerning the safety of the state," according to the indictment, which CPJ reviewed. The new charges collectively carry a maximum sentence of 75 years in prison, according to a report by the media monitoring organization P24.

As of late 2016, Baransu was jailed in Silivri Prison in Istanbul.

Nesibe Baransu, the journalist's wife, told CPJ in late 2016 that her husband was deliberately kept hungry, held in filthy conditions, verbally abused, and mistreated while being transferred from prison to various courts for his hearings.

Mazlum Dolan, Dicle News Agency (DİHA)

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
February 19, 2016

Dolan, reporter for the pro-Kurdish Dicle News Agency (DİHA), was detained by the police while working in the Sur District of Diyarbakır, southeastern Turkey, on February 19, 2016. He was arraigned by the Diyarbakır's First Court of Penal Peace on charges of being a member of a terrorist organization on February 23.

Dolan had been following urban clashes between the Kurdish rebel group the Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement (YDG-H) and Turkish security forces for months when he was trapped in fighting in Sur District, which was placed under military curfew on February 17. Dolan was trapped in a basement with others, and DİHA issued a statement voicing concerns about the reporter, recalling that at least one journalist had been killed while sheltering in a basement in the southeastern town of Cizre in early February.

Dolan left the area when a security corridor was opened during fighting on February 19, but was detained with four other people, including three relatives, as he tried to flee. In late 2016 he was in Diyarbakır Prison, pending trial.

DİHA Editor Dicle Müftüoğlu told BBC Turkey while Dolan was trapped: "We wanted to send a reporter of ours to Sur before the curfew. Mazlum said he had a lot of relatives in Sur and that he knew those neighborhoods well. He insisted. He went before the curfew started. We learned everything we knew about Sur from the news Mazlum had been sending for 80 days. He is a friend of ours whose success in transferring information [and] covering the atmosphere [there] is praiseworthy."

CPJ examined Dolan's testimony before prosecutors, in which the journalist stated he had entered Sur while the curfew was not in effect. Dolan told interrogators he did not have ties to any terrorist organization, and neither did the relatives with whom he had stayed.

As the pro-Kurdish IMC TV channel reported, Dolan stayed at the home of his aunt, Fatma Ateş, while in Sur. Ateş was seriously wounded by a bomb shortly before the family used the security corridor to get out, Dolan told prosecutors. Dolan and his relativeswere detained shortly after they brought Fatma Ateş to a nearby ambulance. She later died, he told prosecutors.

According to the record of the interrogation, Dolan's lawyer, Resul Tamur, told prosecutors that his client was in Sur for journalistic purposes and that he could not have been participating in the fighting because one of his feet is disabled.

In the state's request that the court order Dolan jailed pending trial, which CPJ has examined, Prosecutor Kenan Karaca asserted that it was "suspicious" that civilians risked their lives by staying in the area, and that there were secret witness testimonies implicating Dolan's relatives in terrorism. Dolan's name listed at the bottom of the document, with the others, but does not mention that he told prosecutors he was a journalist. The document contained no mention of secret witness testimony implicating him in terrorism.

Diyarbakır's First Court of Penal Peace, in its order to hold Dolan pending trial, noted that the Ateş family denied the charges against them. The document notes that the family's lawyers provided evidence that the family had phoned the police and the office of the governor to request to be evacuated from the area.

The state adduced as evidence that traces of explosives were found on the family members' clothes. The defense argued that weeks of fighting meant that the area was full of dust, including traces of chemicals, and that the family had not had access to running water for bathing for weeks during the curfew. The document does not specifically say that Dolan was among those found to have traces of explosives on his clothes.

The court stated there was a "strong suspicion" that Dolan and the others were members of a terrorist organization based on the fact that they remained in the area where the fighting was most intense, secret witness testimonies, and police reports, alongside the traces of explosives found on their clothes, and ordered them held pending trial on charges of being members of a terrorist organization.

On September 24, 2016, Diyarbakır's Fifth Court for Serious Crimes approved prosecutors' request to indict Dolan and the other defendants on charges of membership in a terrorist organization, reports. CPJ examined the request for an indictment, which also features his testimony before prosecutors. The document states the journalist had two mobile phones when he was detained and that neither had content that would be considered criminal.

The first hearing in Dolan's case was expected to happen in December, Evrensel newspaper reported, without specifying the date.

Nedim Türfent, Dicle News Agency (DİHA)

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
May 12, 2016

Police detained Türfent, a reporter for the pro-Kurdish Dicle News Agency (DİHA), in the eastern province of Van on May 12, 2016, CPJ reported at the time.

The Yüksekova Court of Penal Peace in Hakkari province ordered him jailed pending trial in Hakkari prison the following day, according to the leftist daily newspaper Evrensel.

According to court documents CPJ reviewed, prosecutors asked the journalist about a DİHA story on Kurdish Civil Protection Units (YPS), which the Turkish government classes as a terrorist organization, and news he shared on his Twitter account.

The prosecution cited witness testimony, including from someone it said was a captured YPS member, accusing Türfent of being a member of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK/KCK) and the offshoot group, the YPS, who propagandizes for the banned groups by interviewing their members and taking photographs and videos of them.

According to the court documents, Türfent responded that he was not the one who took the pictures or videos his organization used for the story in question, and that he had not written it. He denied being a member of the PKK/KCK, and noted that it was his job to interview people, including members of illegal organizations. "Interviewing organization members does not make one an organization member" he said, according to the court record.

The prosecution also cited witness accounts that Türfent photographed trenches and blockades Kurdish rebels prepared in the eastern Turkish town of Yüksekova. In response, the journalist said he documented the events because they had news value, and that all the witnesses' claims against him were unsupported by evidence.

The court ruled that the witness testimonies were enough to create a "reasonable suspicion" that Türfent was a "member of a [terrorist] organization," and ordered him jailed pending trial.

DİHA reported in May 2016 that Türfent received threats from police officers prior to his arrest. He told his employer that people who claimed to be police officers threatened him at his home, and that police officers told relatives, "Nedim should be careful."

According to court documents CPJ reviewed, Türfent told the court that he was "subjected to inhumane treatment and torture" while being detained.

Şerife Oruç, Dicle News Agency (DİHA)

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 4, 2016

Police detained Oruç, a reporter for the pro-Kurdish Dicle News Agency (DİHA), on July 4, 2016, while she was traveling in a car with her cousin and a driver who had picked them up while they were hitchhiking between the southeastern provinces of Diyarbakır and Batman, according to news reports, citing DİHA. The reports said the three were detained on suspicion of "aiding a [terrorist] organization."

After all three were questioned by a prosecutor, Batman's Second Court of Penal Peace ordered Oruç and her companions jailed, pending trial on suspicion of "being a member of a [terrorist] organization," according to press reports. Oruç, who denied the charges in court, was sent to Batman prison pending trial, according to news reports. DİHA reported that Oruç was on her way to cover a news story in Batman at the time of her arrest.

CPJ reviewed the records of Oruç's interrogation by a prosecutor, and the court's order to jail her pending trial. The journalist denied accusations of being a fighter for the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Turkey classes as a terrorist organization, and said she had never fired a gun. She told the prosecutor she had been in Diyarbakır for newsgathering purposes, and that she had not been close to fighting there. She denied the police report's claim that she had tried to run from them.

According to the record of her arraignment hearing, Oruç's lawyer, Mesut Aydın, argued that the police reports about her arrest and those of her companions were conflicting: For example, he said, one report said the three tried to run in different directions; another said they had been apprehended after a car chase.

As of late 2016, she had not been indicted, and no date had been set for her trial.

Zehra Doğan, Jin News Agency (JİNHA)

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 22, 2016

Police on July 22, 2016, detained Zehra Doğan-a reporter for the pro-Kurdish Jin News Agency (JİNHA), which is staffed entirely by women-in Nusaybin, in Turkey's southeastern Mardin Province. The following day, the Nusaybin Court of Penal Peace ordered the journalist jailed, pending trial, on charges of "being member of an armed terrorist organization," CPJ reported at the time. Mardin's Second Court for Serious Crimes court on October 9, 2016, indicted her on that charge, and that of "making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization."

At the time of Doğan's arrest, Nusaybin was the site of urban warfare between Turkish security forces and ethnic-Kurdish fighters. According to the record of her interrogation by police, the court's order to jail her pending trial, and her indictment, all of which the Committee to Protect Journalists has reviewed, the state's evidence consists of testimonies from people saying they saw Doğan talking with people in the street. The witnesses said that they could not hear the conversations, but that they were "organization meetings." Witnesses also said they saw Doğan ask locals to pose for photographs with tools as though they were helping fighters dig trenches and construct barricades in order to show the local population's support for the fight. Doğan denied being a member of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), maintained that the conversations in question were interviews conducted as part of her reporting, and denied that the photographs were posed, the records show.

As of late 2016, the journalist was jailed in Mardin Prison, pending trial.

Ahmet Memiş, Haberdar, Rotahaber

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 24, 2016

Police detained Ahmet Memiş, news coordinator of Internet news portal Haberdar, on July 24, 2016. Memiş, 42, turned himself in to police in Istanbul when he learned that they went to his home to detain him in his absence, according to press reports.

According to court documents CPJ reviewed, the judge who ordered the journalist's detention pending trial on suspicion of being a member of a terrorist organization asked him about his work for Haberdar and for the news website Rotahaber, where Memiş worked as an editor from 2010 to 2015. Both websites stopped operating soon after a failed military coup on July 15, 2016, amid a sweeping crackdown on suspected followers of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, whom the Turkish government accuses of maintaining a terrorist organization and parallel state structure within Turkey that it alleges was behind the attempted coup.

The judge also asked him if he had any involvement with a Twitter account named Fuat Avni, which claims to be the work of someone from within Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's inner circle. Memiş denied any connection to the account.

Memiş was also asked about news reports on Fuat Avni's tweets in Rotahaber and whether he was in any way responsible for publishing opinion columns in Haberdar.

Memiş's wife, Pınar Memiş, told CPJ that her husband decided to prepare his own defense for the trial because they could not afford legal fees. The Turkish legal system allows defendants to ask for a public defender if they cannot afford a lawyer.

"He was not a member of a [terrorist organization], he did not aide them financially. He was just a journalist," Pınar Memiş said.

Memiş was sent to pretrial detention at Silivri Prison in Istanbul on July 25. As of late 2016, he had not been indicted, and no trial date had been set.

Emre Soncan, Zaman

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 24, 2016

On July 24, 2016, Emre Soncan, a former military affairs correspondent for the shuttered daily newspaper Zaman, wrote on Twitter that that he had learned that police were at his house, and that he was going to turn himself in, amid a sweeping purge of journalists and others suspected of following exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen. The government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (or FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey that it blames for orchestrating a failed military coup on July 15, 2016.

Istanbul's Fifth Court of Penal Peace on June 30, 2016, arraigned Soncan and 16 other journalists, ordering them jailed pending trial on charges of "being members of an armed terrorist organization," according to the media monitoring group P24. The daily newspaper Hürriyet reported that the 17 journalists were questioned by prosecutors on accusations of "being members of an armed terrorist organization," "founding or leading an armed terrorist organization," "knowingly and willingly helping [a terrorist] organization without being involved in the organization's hierarchical structure," and "committing crimes in the name of a [terrorist] organization without being a member."

A court in March 2016 ordered Zaman's parent company, the Feza Media Group, put under trustees selected by the government, saying the company and the newspaper had ties to the Gülenist network.

CPJ research shows that authorities have targeted dozens of former Zaman journalists with arrest and prosecution on terrorism charges since the failed July 2016 coup.

News reports did not specify where the journalists were being held, and CPJ was unable to reach the journalists' lawyers. Dozens of other journalists jailed pending trial on similar accusations are being held in Istanbul's Silivri Prison.

Abdullah Kılıç, Meydan

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 25, 2016

Police in Istanbul detained Abdullah Kılıç, a former columnist for the shuttered daily newspaper Meydan, on July 25, 2016, as part of a sweeping purge of suspected followers of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen. The Turkish government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey and alleges that it masterminded a failed July 2016 military coup. Istanbul's First Court of Penal Peace ordered the journalist jailed pending trial on terrorism charges.

According to records of the columnist's interrogation and the order jailing him, which CPJ reviewed, prosecutors interrogated Kılıç on the suspicion that he was a member of FETÖ/PDY's "media arm," based on his work for Zaman and other newspapers the government accuses of manipulating the public to support the organization and the attempted coup. Prosecutors questioned the journalist on suspicion of "committing crimes in the name of a [terrorist] organization without being a member," "knowingly and willingly helping a [terrorist] organization without being involved in the organization's hierarchical structure," "founding or leading and armed terrorist organization," and "being member of an armed terrorist organization," according to the documents.

Kılıç denied the charges, the documents show. He said that though he once worked at Zaman [When did he leave], he had subsequently worked at other newspapers and television stations and had reported critically on FETÖ/PDY. A court in March 2016 ordered the government to appoint trustees to manage Feza Media Group, which formerly published Zaman, saying the company had links to the Gülenist network. The government then used emergency powers it assumed after the failed July 2016 coup attempt to order the newspaper closed by decree on July 27, 2016. Kılıç also said that he had criticized previous attempted coups in documentaries, columns, and on social media.

Kılıç said that he left Meydan in April 2015, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a speech warned, "For the last time: those who stay within this [Gülenist] structure will pay the price and suffer consequences," and that he had worked in the flower business since. Meydan and more than 100 other media outlets were closed by decree along with Zaman on July 27.

In its order to jail Kılıç pending trial, the court noted an apparent discrepancy in the charges against the former columnist: Prosecutors accused him of both being a member of a banned organization and of aiding a banned organization without being a member. The order does not make clear on which of the two charges Kılıç was jailed pending trial.

As of late 2016, Kılıç was jailed in Istanbul, and no date had been set for his trial.

Eda Akıllı Şanlı, Bizim Antalya

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 25, 2016

Counterterrorism police in the southern province of Antalya on July 25, 2016, detained Eda Akıllı Şanlı, a columnist for the news website Bizim Antalya, as part of a sweeping purge of journalists and others suspected of following exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, according to press reports. The government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (or FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey that it blames for orchestrating a failed July 15, 2016, military coup.

On July 27, 2016, a criminal court in Antalya ordered Şanlı and eight other journalists also detained in Antalya two days prior jailed, pending trial on charges they are FETÖ/PDY propagandists, according to press reports. The reports gave no further details.

CPJ tried to contact defense lawyers for the nine journalists. Those lawyers that CPJ was able to reach declined to provide the organization with further information or documentation.

Habip Güler, Zaman

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 25, 2016

Police in Istanbul detained Habip Güler, the shuttered daily Zaman's former parliamentary reporter, on July 25, 2016, his lawyer told CPJ. Istanbul's First Court of Penal Peace on July 29, 2016, arraigned Güler and ordered him jailed, pending trial, on charges of being a member of a terrorist organization.

The charge was based on the suspicion that he is a follower of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, whom the Turkish government accuses of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" in Turkey (FETÖ/PDY, by its Turkish acronym) and of masterminding a July 15, 2016, failed military coup.

An Istanbul court in March 2016 ordered the Feza Media Group, which owned Zaman and several other media outlets, placed under trustees appointed by the government, saying the newspaper was a FETÖ/PDY mouthpiece. The government used emergency powers arrogated after the failed July 15, 2016, military coup to order the newspaper closed by decree on July 27, 2016.

According to court records seen by CPJ, the state alleged that 38-year-old Güler's work at Zaman was evidence of his membership in the group. The state also alleged that police caught Güler as he was destroying evidence, one of the conditions under which a suspect can be ordered jailed pending trial according to Turkish law.

Güler told the court that prosecutors asked him about his activity on Twitter. The court specifically asked him about one post he published on the social media website on October 13, 2014. The court document did not include the content of the tweet, and the tweet has apparently been deleted since, but Güler told the court, "I tweeted that, but I did not fully understand the [Gülenist network] back then. I behaved emotionally."

When asked if he wanted to help authorities crack down on FETÖ/PDY in exchange for leniency, Güler said he was only a parliamentary reporter and that the "[people] really responsible escaped abroad," according to the court's order to jail him pending trial.

As of late 2016, Güler had not been indicted, and no date had been set for his trial.

Halil İbrahim Balta, Zaman, Yarına Bakış

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 25, 2016

Police in Istanbul on July 25, 2016, detained Halil İbrahim Balta-a business reporter for the daily newspaper Yarına Bakış who previously worked with the shuttered daily newspaper Zaman-as part of a sweeping purge of suspected followers of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen. The Turkish government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey that it alleges masterminded a failed July 15, 2016, military coup. Istanbul's 10th Court of Penal Peace on August 3, 2016, ordered Balta jailed pending trial on the charge of "willingly and knowingly aiding an armed terrorist organization."

According to the record of Balta's arraignment hearing, which CPJ has reviewed, Balta denied the accusation, saying that he had no ties to the Gülenist movement, and that he had turned himself in to police upon learning there was a warrant for his arrest.

According to the court document, Prosecutors questioned Balta about his work for Zaman. Balta said he worked for the newspaper for 23 years, but moved to Yarına Bakış after a court in March 2016 ordered the government to appoint trustees to manage Feza Media Group, which published Zaman, saying the company had links to the Gülenist network. The government then used emergency powers it assumed after the failed coup attempt to order the newspaper closed by decree on July 27, 2016.

Prosecutors also asked the journalist about his activity on Twitter, the court documents recorded, without indicating what, if any, specific social media activity concerned the prosecutors. Balta replied that he had no intent to disseminate propaganda for a banned organization and that he had practiced only journalism at Zaman.

The court ordered Balta jailed pending trial on the basis that his employment at Zaman and Yarına Bakış was sufficient evidence for a "reasonable suspicion" that he "willingly and knowingly aided" FETÖ/PDY, according to the record of the hearing.

As of late 2016, Balta was jailed in Istanbul, and no date had been set for his trial.

Kenan Baş, Zaman

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 25, 2016

Conterterrorism police in the southern province of Antalya on July 25, 2016, detained Kenan Baş, a former reporter for the shuttered daily Zaman, as part of a sweeping purge of journalists and others suspected of following exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, according to press reports. The government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (or FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey that it blames for orchestrating a failed July 15, 2016, military coup.

On July 27, 2016, a criminal court in Antalya ordered Baş and eight other journalists also detained in Antalya two days prior jailed pending trial on charges they are FETÖ/PDY propagandists, according to press reports. The reports gave no further details.

Zaman was among the more than 100 newspapers, broadcasters, news agencies, and magazines the Turkish government ordered closed by decree on July 27, 2016, using emergency powers it assumed after the attempted coup, saying the media outlets were FETÖ/PDY mouthpieces, according to Turkey's Official Gazette. Since then, CPJ research shows that Turkish authorities have jailed dozens of Zaman journalists pending trial on terrorism-related offenses.

CPJ tried to contact defense lawyers for the nine journalists. Those lawyers that CPJ was able to reach declined to provide the organization with further information or documentation.

Olgun Matur, Bizim Antalya

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 25, 2016

Counterterrorism police in the southern province of Antalya on July 25, 2016, detained Olgun Matur, the owner of the news website Bizim Antalya, as part of a sweeping purge of journalists and others suspected of following exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, according to press reports. The government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (or FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey that it blames for orchestrating a failed July 15, 2016, military coup.

On July 27, 2016, a criminal court in Antalya ordered Matur and eight other journalists also detained in Antalya two days prior jailed, pending trial on charges they were FETÖ/PDY propagandists, according to press reports. The reports gave no further details.

CPJ tried to contact defense lawyers for the nine journalists. Those lawyers that CPJ was able to reach declined to provide the organization with further information or documentation.

Onur Fazıl Soydal, Antalya

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 25, 2016

Counterterrorism police in the southern province of Antalya on July 25, 2016, detained Onur Fazıl Soydal, the owner of the news website Antalya, as part of a sweeping purge of journalists and others suspected of following exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, according to press reports. The government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (or FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey that it blames for orchestrating a failed July 15, 2016, military coup.

On July 27, 2016, a criminal court in Antalya ordered Soydal and eight other journalists also detained in Antalya two days prior jailed, pending trial on charges they were FETÖ/PDY propagandists, according to press reports. The reports gave no further details.

CPJ tried to contact defense lawyers for the nine journalists. Those lawyers that CPJ was able to reach declined to provide the organization with further information or documentation.

Osman Yakut, Zaman

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 25, 2016

Counterterrorism police in the southern province of Antalya on July 25, 2016, detained Osman Yakut, a former reporter for the shuttered daily Zaman,, as part of a sweeping purge of journalists and others suspected of following exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, according to press reports. The government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (or FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey that it blames for orchestrating a failed July 15, 2016, military coup.

On July 27, 2016, a criminal court in Antalya ordered Yakut and eight other journalists also detained in Antalya two days prior jailed, pending trial on charges they are FETÖ/PDY propagandists, according to press reports. The reports gave no further details.

Zaman was among the more than 100 newspapers, broadcasters, news agencies, and magazines the Turkish government ordered closed by decree on July 27, 2016, using emergency powers it assumed after the attempted coup, saying the media outlets were FETÖ/PDY mouthpieces, according to Turkey's Official Gazette. Since then, CPJ research shows that Turkish authorities have jailed dozens of Zaman journalists pending trial on terrorism-related offenses.

CPJ tried to contact defense lawyers for the nine journalists. Those lawyers that CPJ was able to reach declined to provide the organization with further information or documentation.

Özkan Mayda, Zaman

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 25, 2016

Counterterrorism police in the southern province of Antalya on July 25, 2016, detained Özkan Mayda, a former reporter for the shuttered daily Zaman, as part of a sweeping purge of journalists and others suspected of following exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, according to press reports. The government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (or FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey that it blames for orchestrating a failed July 15, 2016, military coup.

On July 27, 2016, a criminal court in Antalya ordered Mayda and eight other journalists also detained in Antalya two days prior jailed, pending trial on charges they are FETÖ/PDY propagandists, according to press reports. The reports gave no further details.

Zaman was among the more than 100 newspapers, broadcasters, news agencies, and magazines the Turkish government ordered closed by decree on July 27, 2016, using emergency powers it assumed after the attempted coup, saying the media outlets were FETÖ/PDY mouthpieces, according to Turkey's Official Gazette. Since then, CPJ research shows that Turkish authorities have jailed dozens of Zaman journalists pending trial on terrorism-related offenses.

CPJ tried to contact defense lawyers for the nine journalists. Those lawyers that CPJ was able to reach declined to provide the organization with further information or documentation.

Tuncer Çetinkaya, Zaman

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 25, 2016

Counterterrorism police in the southern province of Antalya on July 25, 2016, detained Tuncer Çetinkaya, a former reporter for the shuttered daily Zaman, as part of a sweeping purge of journalists and others suspected of following exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, according to press reports. The government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (or FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey that it blames for orchestrating a failed July 15, 2016, military coup.

On July 27, 2016, a criminal court in Antalya ordered Çetinkaya and eight other journalists also detained in Antalya two days prior jailed, pending trial on charges they are FETÖ/PDY propagandists, according to press reports. The reports gave no further details.

Zaman was among the more than 100 newspapers, broadcasters, news agencies, and magazines the Turkish government ordered closed by decree on July 27, 2016, using emergency powers it assumed after the attempted coup, saying the media outlets were FETÖ/PDY mouthpieces, according to Turkey's Official Gazette. Since then, CPJ research shows that Turkish authorities have jailed dozens of Zaman journalists pending trial on terrorism-related offenses.

CPJ tried to contact defense lawyers for the nine journalists. Those lawyers that CPJ was able to reach declined to provide the organization with further information or documentation.

Bayram Kaya, Yeni Hayat

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 26, 2016

Police in Istanbul detained Bayram Kaya, a former reporter for the daily newspaper Zaman and later Yeni Hayat, on July 26, 2016, as part of a sweeping purge of journalists and others suspected of following exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, according to press reports . The government accuses of Gülen maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (or FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey that it blames for orchestrating a failed military coup on July 15, 2016.

Istanbul's Fifth Court of Penal Peace on June 30, 2016, arraigned Kaya and 16 other journalists, ordering them jailed pending trial on charges of "being members of an armed terrorist organization," according to the media monitoring group P24. The daily newspaper Hürriyet reported that the 17 journalists were questioned by prosecutors on accusations of "being members of an armed terrorist organization," "founding or leading an armed terrorist organization," "knowingly and willingly helping [a terrorist] organization without being involved in the organization's hierarchical structure," and "committing crimes in the name of a [terrorist] organization without being a member."

A court in March 2016 ordered Zaman's parent company, the Feza Media Group, put under trustees selected by the government, saying the company and the newspaper had ties to the Gülenist network. After the government-appointed trustees took control of Zaman and the newspaper's editorial line changed accordingly, a group of Zaman journalists founded the newspaper Yeni Hayat. That newspaper stopped publishing after the failed July 2016 coup attempt.

CPJ research shows that authorities have targeted dozens of former Zaman journalists with arrest and prosecution on terrorism charges since the failed July 2016 coup.

News reports did not specify where the journalists were being held, and CPJ was unable to reach the journalists' lawyers. Dozens of other journalists jailed pending trial on similar accusations are being held in Istanbul's Silivri Prison.

Bünyamin Köseli, Aksiyon

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 26, 2016

Police in Istanbul detained Bünyamin Köseli, a former reporter for the magazine Aksiyon, on July 26, 2016, as part of a sweeping purge of journalists and others suspected of following exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, according to press reports. The government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (or FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey that it blames for orchestrating a failed military coup on July 15, 2016.

Istanbul's Fifth Court of Penal Peace on June 30, 2016, arraigned Köseli and 16 other journalists, ordering them jailed pending trial on charges of "being members of an armed terrorist organization," according to the media monitoring group P24. The daily newspaper Hürriyet reported that the 17 journalists were questioned by prosecutors on accusations of "being members of an armed terrorist organization," "founding or leading an armed terrorist organization," "knowingly and willingly helping [a terrorist] organization without being involved in the organization's hierarchical structure," and "committing crimes in the name of a [terrorist] organization without being a member."

A court in March 2016 ordered Aksiyon's parent company, the Feza Media Group, put under the trusteeship of figures selected by the government, saying the company and the newspaper had ties to the Gülenist network. On July 27, 2016, the government used emergency powers it assumed after the July 2016 failed coup attempt to close the magazine, saying it was a FETÖ/PDY mouthpiece.

CPJ research shows that authorities have targeted dozens of former journalists from media outlets owned by the Feza Media Group with arrest and prosecution on terrorism charges since the failed July 2016 coup attempt.

News reports did not specify where the journalists were being held, and CPJ was unable to reach the journalists' lawyers. Dozens of other journalists jailed pending trial on similar accusations are being held in Istanbul's Silivri Prison.

Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Aksiyon

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 26, 2016

Police in Istanbul detained Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, an author and former columnist for the magazine Aksiyon, on July 26, 2016, as part of a sweeping purge of journalists and others suspected of following exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, according to press reports. The government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (or FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey that it blames for orchestrating a failed military coup on July 15, 2016.

Istanbul's Fifth Court of Penal Peace on June 30, 2016, arraigned Kalyoncu and 16 other journalists, ordering them jailed pending trial on charges of "being members of an armed terrorist organization," according to the media monitoring group P24. The daily newspaper Hürriyet reported that the 17 journalists were questioned by prosecutors on accusations of "being members of an armed terrorist organization," "founding or leading an armed terrorist organization," "knowingly and willingly helping [a terrorist] organization without being involved in the organization's hierarchical structure," and "committing crimes in the name of a [terrorist] organization without being a member."

A court in March 2016 ordered Aksiyon's parent company, the Feza Media Group, put under the trusteeship of figures selected by the government, saying the company and the newspaper had ties to the Gülenist network. On July 27, 2016, the government used emergency powers it assumed after the July 2016 failed coup attempt to close the magazine, saying it was a FETÖ/PDY mouthpiece.

CPJ research shows that authorities have targeted dozens of former journalists from media outlets owned by the Feza Media Group with arrest and prosecution on terrorism charges since the failed July 2016 coup attempt.

News reports did not specify where the journalists were being held, and CPJ was unable to reach the journalists' lawyers. Dozens of other journalists jailed pending trial on similar accusations are being held in Istanbul's Silivri Prison.

Cihan Acar, Bugün

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 26, 2016

Police in Istanbul detained Cihan Acar, a former editor for the shuttered daily newspaper Bugün, on July 26, 2016, as part of a sweeping purge of journalists and others suspected of following exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, according to press reports. The government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (or FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey that it blames for orchestrating a failed military coup on July 15, 2016.

Istanbul's Fifth Court of Penal Peace on June 30, 2016, arraigned him and 16 other journalists, ordering them jailed pending trial on charges of "being members of an armed terrorist organization," according to the media monitoring group P24. The daily newspaper Hürriyet reported that the 17 journalists were questioned by prosecutors on accusations of "being members of an armed terrorist organization," "founding or leading an armed terrorist organization," "knowingly and willingly helping [a terrorist] organization without being involved in the organization's hierarchical structure," and "committing crimes in the name of a [terrorist] organization without being a member."

Bugün was one of several media outlets owned by the Koza İpek Group, which the government took over in October 2015, alleging it had links to FETÖ/PDY. Trustees appointed by the government hollowed out media outlets the company owned and shut them down in March 2016, saying they were not financially viable.

The government-appointed management fired Acar from Bugün immediately after taking control of the newspaper, according to media reports.

News reports did not specify where the journalists were being held, and CPJ was unable to reach the journalists' lawyers. Dozens of other journalists jailed pending trial on similar accusations are being held in Istanbul's Silivri Prison.

Cuma Ulus, Millet

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 26, 2016

Police in Istanbul detained Cuma Ulus, a former editor for the shuttered daily newspaper Millet, on July 26, 2016, as part of a sweeping purge of journalists and others suspected of following exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, according to press reports. The government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (or FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey that it blames for orchestrating a failed military coup on July 15, 2016.

Istanbul's Fifth Court of Penal Peace on June 30, 2016, arraigned Ulus and 16 other journalists, ordering them jailed pending trial on charges of "being members of an armed terrorist organization," according to the media monitoring group P24. The daily newspaper Hürriyet reported that the 17 journalists were questioned by prosecutors on accusations of "being members of an armed terrorist organization," "founding or leading an armed terrorist organization," "knowingly and willingly helping [a terrorist] organization without being involved in the organization's hierarchical structure," and "committing crimes in the name of a [terrorist] organization without being a member."

The daily newspaper Millet was one of several media outlets owned by the Koza İpek Group, which the government took over in October 2015, alleging it had links to FETÖ/PDY. Trustees appointed by the government hollowed out media outlets the company owned and shut them down in March 2016, saying they were not financially viable.

The government-appointed management fired Ulus from Millet immediately after taking control of the newspaper, according to media reports.

News reports did not specify where the journalists were being held, and CPJ was unable to reach the journalists' lawyers. Dozens of other journalists jailed pending trial on similar accusations are being held in Istanbul's Silivri Prison.

Hanım Büşra Erdal, Zaman, Yeni Hayat

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 26, 2016

Police on July 26, 2016, detained Hanım Büşra Erdal, a 35-year-old columnist and court reporter for the shuttered daily newspaper Zaman, at her family's home in the western Turkish province of Manisa, Turkey's state-run Anadolu News Agency reported.

She was subsequently transferred to Istanbul to be investigated as part of a broad purge of suspected followers of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, whom the Turkish government accuses of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (FETÖ/PDY, by its Turkish acronym) and of masterminding a July 15, 2016, failed military coup.

Istanbul's First Court of Penal Peace on July 29, 2016, ordered the journalist jailed pending trial on charges of membership in a terrorist organization, in large part based on her long employment at Zaman, according to the arraignment, which CPJ has reviewed. An Istanbul court in March 2016 ordered the Feza Media Group, which owned Zaman and several other media outlets, placed under trustees appointed by the government on the grounds that the court considered it a FETÖ/PDY mouthpiece. The government used emergency powers assumed after the failed July 15, 2016, military coup to order the newspaper closed by decree on July 27, 2016.

According to the arraignment, the state alleged that Erdal was detained as she was destroying evidence against her, an allegation that her lawyer, Ümit Kardaş, disputed in his appeal of the order to jail Erdal pending trial, which CPJ has also reviewed. According to Turkish law, any suspicion of tampering with evidence or preventing evidence from being collected during an investigation can be used to justify pretrial detention.

Kardaş said in the appeal that the allegation of destroying evidence was "imaginary." He said Erdal had wanted to turn herself in to police as soon as she learned from the press that she was wanted, but that police told her not to move, and that they would come for her at her family's home.

Erdal's lawyer wrote in the appeal that police did not search the journalist's family's house, but instead searched her apartment in Istanbul, and found books by Gülen.

Prosecutors asked Erdal about a July 12, 2016, opinion article she wrote, headlined "Are you aware of danger?" in the newspaper Yeni Hayat, which former Zaman journalists launched after a court placed Zaman's parent company under trusteeship. Prosecutors also asked her about the books by Gülen that police found in her apartment, and about her activity on Twitter. Prosecutors also asked her whether she knew Hidayet Karaca, the jailed head of Samanyolu Broadcasting Group.

Istanbul police on April 12, 2016, raided the offices Samanyolu TV, after a court ordered its parent company, Işık Medya Planning and Advertising, and 13 other companies placed under trusteeship, according to press reports. The Anadolu Ninth Court of Penal Peace ordered the trusteeship because of the companies' links to Kaynak Holding, which courts have found to be linked to followers of Gülen.

Haşim Söylemez, Aksiyon

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 26, 2016

Police in Istanbul detained Haşim Söylemez, a former columnist for the magazine Aksiyon, on July 26, 2016, as part of a sweeping purge of journalists and others suspected of following exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, according to press reports. The government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (or FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey that it blames for orchestrating a failed military coup on July 15, 2016.

Istanbul's Fifth Court of Penal Peace on June 30, 2016, arraigned Söylemez and 16 other journalists, ordering them jailed pending trial on charges of "being members of an armed terrorist organization," according to the media monitoring group P24. The daily newspaper Hürriyet reported that the 17 journalists were questioned by prosecutors on accusations of "being members of an armed terrorist organization," "founding or leading an armed terrorist organization," "knowingly and willingly helping [a terrorist] organization without being involved in the organization's hierarchical structure," and "committing crimes in the name of a [terrorist] organization without being a member."

A court in March 2016 ordered Aksiyon's parent company, the Feza Media Group, put under trustees selected by the government, saying the company and the newspaper had ties to the Gülenist network. On July 27, 2016, the government used emergency powers it assumed after the July 2016 failed coup attempt to close the magazine, saying it was a FETÖ/PDY mouthpiece.

CPJ research shows that authorities have targeted dozens of former journalists from media outlets owned by the Feza Media Group with arrest and prosecution on terrorism charges since the failed July 2016 coup attempt.

News reports did not specify where the journalists were being held, and CPJ was unable to reach the journalists' lawyers. Dozens of other journalists jailed pending trial on similar accusations are being held in Istanbul's Silivri Prison.

Hüseyin Aydın, Cihan News Agency

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 26, 2016

Police in Istanbul detained Hüseyin Aydın, a former military affairs reporter for the shuttered Cihan News Agency, on July 26, 2016, as part of a sweeping purge of journalists and others suspected of following exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, according to press reports. The government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (or FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey that it blames for orchestrating a failed military coup on July 15, 2016.

Istanbul's Fifth Court of Penal Peace on June 30, 2016, arraigned Aydın and 16 other journalists, ordering them jailed pending trial on charges of "being members of an armed terrorist organization," according to the media monitoring group P24. The daily newspaper Hürriyet reported that the 17 journalists were questioned by prosecutors on accusations of "being members of an armed terrorist organization," "founding or leading an armed terrorist organization," "knowingly and willingly helping [a terrorist] organization without being involved in the organization's hierarchical structure," and "committing crimes in the name of a [terrorist] organization without being a member."

A court in March 2016 ordered the Cihan News Agency's parent company, the Feza Media Group, put under the trusteeship of figures selected by the government, saying the company and the newspaper had ties to the Gülenist network.

CPJ research shows that authorities have targeted dozens of journalists formerly employed by the Feza Media Group with arrest and prosecution on terrorism charges since the failed July 2016 coup. The government used emergency powers it assumed after that coup attempt to close the Cihan News Agency by decree, CPJ reported at the time.

News reports did not specify where the journalists were being held, and CPJ was unable to reach the journalists' lawyers. Dozens of other journalists jailed pending trial on similar accusations are being held in Istanbul's Silivri Prison.

Ahmet Turan Alkan, Zaman

Medium:
Internet, Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 27, 2016

Police detained Alkan, a former columnist for the shuttered newspaper Zaman, on July 27, 2016, CPJ reported at the time.

The court arraigned him and codefendants and fellow former Zaman journalists Ali Bulaç, Şahin Alpay, and Mustafa Ünal on charges of being members of a terrorist organization. They were accused of following exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, whom the Turkish government accuses of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (FETÖ/PDY, by its Turkish acronym) and masterminding a failed military coup on July 15, 2016.

According to records of the arraignment hearing, which CPJ has reviewed, the state alleged that Bulaç, Alpay, Alkan, and Ünal wrote articles in Zaman praising FETÖ/PDY and that the newspaper was the group's media organ.

The state further alleged that because Bulaç and the other Zaman columnists continued writing for the newspaper after its editor-in-chief, Ekrem Dumanlı, was chargedin absentia on charges of being "a member of an armed terrorist organization," they remained involved even they they knew the group included armed elements, according to court records.

According to the court records, the state also alleged that Bulaç, Alpay, Alkan, and Ünal praised Gülenists on social media, despite what the state described as "strong discourse and public information" that an armed uprising would take place.

The court judged Bulaç, Alpay, Alkan, and Ünal to be flight risks and ordered them jailed pending trial. Many people have fled Turkey in the wake of the government crackdown on suspected Gülenists.

The court did not specify the accusations against the individual journalists but judged their cases collectively, court documents show.

Alkan, 62, told the court that he suffers from high blood pressure and needs to take medicine for the condition three times a day. Hürriyet columnist Ertuğrul Özkök, citing Alkan's family, wrote on November 11, 2016, that the journalist also has vertigo and an infection of the middle ear, but had been denied medical assistance for 15 days.

An Istanbul court in March 2016 ordered the Feza Media Group, which owned Zaman and several other media outlets, placed under trustees appointed by the government. The government used emergency powers arrogated after the failed July 15 military coup to order the newspaper closed by decree on July 27, 2016.

Ali Bulaç, Zaman

Medium:
Internet, Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 27, 2016

Ali Bulaç, a former columnist for the shuttered daily newspaper Zaman, turned himself in to police on July 27, 2016, when he learned from the press that there was a warrant for his arrest, he told Istanbul's Fourth Court of Penal Peace at his July 30, 2016, arraignment hearing.

The court arraigned him and codefendants and fellow former Zaman journalists Şahin Alpay, Ahmet Turan Alkan, and Mustafa Ünal on charges of being members of a terrorist organization. They were accused of following exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, whom the Turkish government accuses of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (FETÖ/PDY, by its Turkish acronym) and masterminding a failed military coup on July 15, 2016.

According to records of the arraignment hearing, which CPJ has reviewed, the state alleged that Bulaç, Alpay, Alkan, and Ünal wrote articles in Zaman praising FETÖ/PDY and that the newspaper was the group's media organ.

The state further alleged that because Bulaç and the other Zaman columnists continued writing for the newspaper after its editor-in-chief, Ekrem Dumanlı, was charged in absentia on charges of being "a member of an armed terrorist organization," they remained involved even they they knew the group included armed elements, according to court records.

According to the court records, the state also alleged that Bulaç, Alpay, Alkan, and Ünal praised Gülenists on social media, despite what the state described as "strong discourse and public information" that an armed uprising would take place.

The court judged Bulaç, Alpay, Alkan, and Ünal to be flight risks and ordered them jailed pending trial. Many people have fled Turkey in the wake of the government crackdown on suspected Gülenists.

The court did not specify the accusations against the individual journalists but judged their cases collectively, court documents show.

Bulaç, 66, told the court that he had had heart bypass surgery and suffers from high blood pressure, diabetes, and enlarged thyroid, the court records indicate.

An Istanbul court in March 2016 ordered the Feza Media Group, which owned Zaman and several other media outlets, placed under trustees appointed by the government. The government used emergency powers arrogated after the failed July 15 military coup to order the newspaper closed by decree on July 27, 2016.

Faruk Akkan, Cihan News Agency

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 27, 2016

Police detained Akkan, the general director of the Cihan News Agency, at his home in Istanbul on July 27, 2016, according to a message posted to his Twitter account on his behalf, referring to him in the third person.

Istanbul's Third Court of Penal Peace ordered the 46-year-old journalist jailed, pending trial "based on the strong suspicion" that he was a member of a terrorist organization. He was accused of being a follower of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, whom the Turkish government accuses of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (FETÖ/PDY, by its Turkish acronym) and of masterminding a July 15 failed military coup.

According to court documents, the court based its conclusion on Akkan's employment at the Cihan News Agency, which it called "within the structure of FETÖ/PDY's media arm." A court in March 2016 ordered the news agency's parent company, the Feza Media Group, placed under government-appointed trustee, on the grounds that it was a Gülenist mouthpiece.

Akkan told the court that he started working at the news agency's foreign desk in 2004 and then went to Russia in 2006 as a reporter, where he stayed until 2015, when he returned to Istanbul and became general director.

As of late 2016, Akkan had not been indicted, and no date had been set for his trial.

Mümtaz'er Türköne, Zaman

Medium:
Internet, Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 27, 2016

Police in the western province of Yalova detained Mümtaz'er Türköne, a 60-year-old political scientist and columnist for the shuttered daily newspaper Zaman, on July 27, 2016, as part of a broad purge of suspected followers of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen. The Turkish government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and parallel state structure in Turkey (FETÖ/PDY, by its Turkish acronym) and masterminding a July 15, 2016, failed military coup.

Authorities subsequently transferred Türköne to Istanbul for questioning, and Istanbul's Third Court of Penal Peace on August 4, 2016, ordered him jailed, pending trial on charges of "serving to the aims of the terrorist organization FETÖ/PDY."

According to the court records of his arraignment, the state alleged that Türköne was "a columnist at a newspaper issued in the name of the organization, and that he served the aims of the organization with his articles."

An Istanbul court in March 2016 ordered the Feza Media Group, which owned Zaman and several other media outlets, placed under trustees appointed by the government. The government used emergency powers it assumed after the failed July 15, 2016, military coup to order the newspaper closed by decree on July 27, 2016.

According to court documents, Türköne told the court that he had been a political scientist for 30 years and that he had written 16 books. He said the idea to "call on the people to take to the streets in case of a military coup, as President Erdoğan did," originated with him. On the night of the July 15, 2016, failed military coup, the Turkish president called on citizens to fill the streets to foil the mutinous soldiers' plans. Türköne told the court that he spoke about this idea on many television shows and in many newspaper columns prior to July 2016 as a means of foiling future coup attempts.

Türköne said police produced five of his articles as evidence for his support for the attempted coup. The columnist denied the allegations, and said all the articles were calling for alternative democratic solutions, and the removal of the government through elections.

"I know Fethullah Gülen. I know that Zaman newspaper was under his control," Türköne told the court. "As an author, to reach a wider audience, I preferred to write in Zaman, which [had] the highest circulation in Turkey."

"During the time I wrote for Zaman, there was no open intervention about what to write. Sometimes [staff] reminded me of current issues and advised me to write about different issues. No intervention happened over any article I wrote. I also do not feel I am dependent on the editorial policy of the newspaper," Türköne told the court.

As of late 2016, Türköne had not been indicted, and no date had been set for his trial.

Mustafa Ünal, Zaman

Medium:
Internet, Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 27, 2016

Police detained Mustafa Ünal, former Ankara correspondent for the shuttered newspaper Zaman, at his home in Ankara the morning of July 27, 2016, CPJ reported at the time.

The court arraigned him and codefendants and fellow former Zaman journalists Ali Bulaç, Ahmet Turan Alkan, and Şahin Alpay on charges of being members of a terrorist organization. They were accused of following exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, whom the Turkish government accuses of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (FETÖ/PDY, by its Turkish acronym) and masterminding a failed military coup on July 15, 2016.

According to records of the arraignment hearing, which CPJ has reviewed, the state alleged that Bulaç, Alpay, Alkan, and Ünal wrote articles in Zaman praising FETÖ/PDY and that the newspaper was the group's media organ.

The state further alleged that because Bulaç and the other Zaman columnists continued writing for the newspaper after its editor-in-chief, Ekrem Dumanlı, was chargedin absentia on charges of being "a member of an armed terrorist organization," they remained involved even they they knew the group included armed elements, according to court records.

According to the court records, the state also alleged that Bulaç, Alpay, Alkan, and Ünal praised Gülenists on social media, despite what the state described as "strong discourse and public information" that an armed uprising would take place.

The court judged Bulaç, Alpay, Alkan, and Ünal to be flight risks and ordered them jailed pending trial. Many people have fled Turkey in the wake of the government crackdown on suspected Gülenists.

The court did not specify the accusations against the individual journalists but judged their cases collectively, court documents show.

An Istanbul court in March 2016 ordered the Feza Media Group, which owned Zaman and several other media outlets, placed under trustees appointed by the government. The government used emergency powers arrogated after the failed July 15 military coup to order the newspaper closed by decree on July 27, 2016.

According to records of the arraignment hearing, Ünal, 49, told the court that he retired from Zaman after it was placed under trusteeship, and that he waited for the police to come to his home, which he said showed he had no intention to try to escape should the court grant bail. Ünal told the court he suffers from thyroid problems.

His lawyer, İbrahim İpar, told CPJ that he had not been able to obtain the records of Ünal's testimony to police or prosecutors because of restrictions established by the state of emergency.

Şahin Alpay, Zaman

Medium:
Internet, Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 27, 2016

Police detained Şahin Alpay, a 72-year-old former columnist for the shuttered newspaper Zaman, at his home early in the morning of July 27, 2016, CPJ reported at the time.

The court arraigned him and codefendants and fellow former Zaman journalists Ali Bulaç, Ahmet Turan Alkan, and Mustafa Ünal on charges of being members of a terrorist organization. They were accused of following exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, whom the Turkish government accuses of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (FETÖ/PDY, by its Turkish acronym) and masterminding a failed military coup on July 15, 2016.

According to records of the arraignment hearing, which CPJ has reviewed, the state alleged that Bulaç, Alpay, Alkan, and Ünal wrote articles in Zaman praising FETÖ/PDY and that the newspaper was the group's media organ.

The state further alleged that because Bulaç and the other Zaman columnists continued writing for the newspaper after its editor-in-chief, Ekrem Dumanlı, was chargedin absentia on charges of being "a member of an armed terrorist organization," they remained involved even they they knew the group included armed elements, according to court records.

According to the court records, the state also alleged that Bulaç, Alpay, Alkan, and Ünal praised Gülenists on social media, despite what the state described as "strong discourse and public information" that an armed uprising would take place.

The court judged Bulaç, Alpay, Alkan, and Ünal to be flight risks and ordered them jailed pending trial. Many people have fled Turkey in the wake of the government crackdown on suspected Gülenists.

The court did not specify the accusations against the individual journalists but judged their cases collectively, court documents show.

Alpay's lawyers unsuccessfully petitioned the prosecutor's office to expedite his legal process given his age and health problems, the news website T24 reported.

An Istanbul court in March 2016 ordered the Feza Media Group, which owned Zaman and several other media outlets, placed under trustees appointed by the government. The government used emergency powers arrogated after the failed July 15 military coup to order the newspaper closed by decree on July 27, 2016.

Ufuk Şanlı, Millet

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 28, 2016

Police detained Ufuk Şanlı, chief business editor for the shuttered daily newspaper Millet, on July 28, 2016, the daily Milliyet reported. The same day, Istanbul's First Court of Penal Peace arraigned him on charges of "being a member of a [terrorist] organization." He was accused of being a follower of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, whom the Turkish government accuses of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (FETÖ/PDY, by its Turkish acronym) and of masterminding a July 15, 2016, failed military coup.

Şanlı turned himself in, in the coastal city of İzmir, when he learned police were searching his home in Istanbul, his lawyers told the court, according to court records seen by CPJ.

According to its order to jail Şanlı pending trial, Istanbul's First Court of Penal Peace

concluded that Şanlı's employment at Millet contributed to the "reasonable suspicion" that the journalist was a member of FETÖ/PDY. Police on October 28, 2015, raided the office of the newspaper's parent company, the Koza İpek Group, after a court found that the company had links to FETÖ/PDY and ordered it placed under the trusteeship of figures chosen by the government, CPJ reported at the time. The government used emergency powers it assumed after the failed military coup to order the newspaper closed by decree.

Prosecutors also interrogated the journalist about his seven years' employment at Aksiyon magazine, which the government also ordered closed by decree using emergency powers after the failed coup, asserting that the magazine had links to FETÖ/PDY.

According to court records, prosecutors also asked Şanlı about material he posted to Twitter the night of July 15, criticizing the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's "attempt to design the military," and the president's influence over the judiciary.

As of late 2016, Şanlı had not been indicted, and no date had been set for his trial.

Ercan Gün, Fox TV

Medium:
Television
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 29, 2016

Police in Istanbul detained Ercan Gün, a news editor for Turkish Fox TV, on July 29, 2016, as part of a sweeping crackdown on journalists and others suspected of being followers of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, according to his lawyer and court documents reviewed by the Committee to Protect Journalists. The government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (or FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey that it blames for orchestrating a failed military coup on July 15, 2016.

Istanbul's Third Court of Penal Peace on August 2, 2016, ordered the veteran journalist released on probation, but police again detained him before he left the court house, on suspicion that he had broadcast a news report to tarnish the image of the military on behalf of FETÖ/PDY, his lawyer told CPJ.

The new allegations stemmed from his having broadcast footage on February 1, 2007, showing Ogün Samast, whom a juvenile court in 2011 convicted of the January 19, 2007 murder of Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink, receiving a Turkish flag and congratulations on the murder from military police officers less than a day after Dink's murder. The footage aired on TGRT-TV, which Fox bought and renamed in 2007. Prosecutors alleged that the journalist had broadcast the footage on orders from FETÖ/PDY members, according to Gün's lawyer, Çağrı Çetin.

Istanbul's Second Court of Penal Peace on August 25, 2016, ordered Gün jailed pending trial on the accusation that he was a member of a terrorist organization, and that he had aired the story on Samast at FETÖ/PDY's behest in order "to create the perception that the military is related to the murder," according to court records of the hearing, which CPJ reviewed.

Çetin told CPJ that police repeatedly asked Gün who gave him the footage of Samast and the military police, and that an officer had promised that Gün would be released if he implicated Ekrem Dumanlı, then the editor-in-chief of the daily newspaper Zaman, which the government ordered closed using emergency powers it assumed after the failed July 2016 coup attempt. Gün previously worked at Zaman. Police produced call logs showing that he had spoken with Dumanlı and other senior Zaman staff by telephone shortly before the video aired, Çetin told CPJ. Gün said the calls to Dumanlı and others at Zaman were in pursuit of his severance package, his lawyer told CPJ.

Çetin told CPJ that his client has suffered from sleeping disorders and vision problems since being jailed in July.

As of late 2016, Gün was in Siliviri Prison in Istanbul and had not been indicted. No date had been set for his trial.

Resul Cengiz, Cihan News Agency

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
August 5, 2016

Police in the western Turkish province of Denizli on August 5, 2016, detained Resul Cengiz, a former reporter for the shuttered Cihan News Agency, as part of a sweeping purge of journalists and others suspected of following exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, according to press reports. The government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (or FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey that it blames for orchestrating a failed July 15, 2016, military coup.

A local court ordered Cengiz jailed pending trial on terrorism charges on August 10, 2016, the reports said.

In March 2016 a court ordered the Cihan News Agency's parent company, the Feza Media Group, put under trustees selected by the government, saying the company and its news outlets had ties to the Gülenist network.

The news agency was among the more than 100 newspapers, broadcasters, news agencies, and magazines the Turkish government ordered closed by decree on July 27, 2016, using emergency powers it assumed after the attempted coup, saying the media outlets were FETÖ/PDY mouthpieces, according to Turkey's Official Gazette. Since then, CPJ research shows that Turkish authorities have jailed dozens of journalists formerly employed by outlets owned by the Feza Media Group, pending trial on terrorism-related offenses.

Vahit Yazgan, Zaman

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
August 8, 2016

Police detained Vahit Yazgan, the former Izmir Province correspondent for the now-shuttered daily newspaper Zaman, in the coastal city of Izmir on August 8, 2016, according to court documents and his lawyer.

Izmir's Fourth Court of Penal Peace on August 25, 2016, ordered the journalist jailed pending trial on charges that he was a follower of exiled Fethullah Gülen, according to court documents and his legal representative. The government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and parallel state structure within Turkey that it blames for orchestrating a failed military coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

A court in March 2016 ordered Zaman's parent company put under the trusteeship of figures selected by the government, saying the company and the newspaper had ties to the Gülenist network. CPJ research shows that authorities have targeted Zaman journalists with arrest and prosecution on terrorism charges since the failed July 2016 coup.

Police interrogated Yazgan about his work for the newspaper, according to records of that interrogation, which the Committee to Protect Journalists has reviewed. Yazgan told police that he worked as a correspondent for the newspaper until government-appointed trustees took over, and that he had been unemployed since. He denied having any ties to the Gülenist movement. According to records of his arraignment, which CPJ has also reviewed, he repeated these denials before the Izmir court, adding that he was not religious.

Yazgan is held in Buca Kırıklar Prison in Izmir's Buca District, pending trial. He had not been indicted and no date had been set for his trial as of late 2016, according to his lawyer.

Ali Ünal, Zaman

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
August 14, 2016

Police detained Ali Ünal, a former columnist for the shuttered daily newspaper Zaman, at his house in the western province of Uşak on August 14, 2016, as part of a sweeping purge of suspected followers of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, according to press reports. The government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (or FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey that it blames for orchestrating a failed military coup on July 15, 2016.

Authorities transferred Ünal to a detention facility in Istanbul on August 15, 2016, CNN Turk reported, and a court in Istanbul arraigned the journalist the following day on accusations of "being a member of an armed terrorist organization," "aiding a [terrorist] organization," and "making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization," according to press reports, which did not identify the name of the detention center where he was held.

A court in March 2016 ordered the government to appoint trustees to manage Feza Media Group, which formerly published Zaman, saying the company had links to FETÖ/PDY. The government then used emergency powers it assumed after the failed July 2016 coup attempt to order the newspaper closed by decree on July 27, 2016.

Since July 2016, police have arrested dozens of former Zaman journalists on terrorism charges, citing their former employment at the newspaper as evidence.

As of late 2016, CPJ had not been able to reach Ünal's lawyer or examine records of his court hearings or interrogation. CPJ was unable to determine where the journalist is jailed.

Aslı Erdoğan, Özgür Gündem

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
August 16, 2016

Police detained Erdoğan, a novelist, scientist, columnist, and member of the shuttered daily newspaper Özgür Gündem's advisory board, at her home in Istanbul on August 16, 2016. Istanbul's Fourth Court of Penal Peace on August 19, 2016, arraigned her on charges of "disrupting the unity of the state and the integrity of the country," and "being a member of an armed terrorist organization," and ordered her jailed, pending trial.

CPJ examined the records of Erdoğan's interrogation by prosecutors and police, the court's order to jail her pending trial, the police report on the search of her house, and her lawyer's appeal of the court order jailing her pending trial.

Erdoğan told prosecutors and the court that her contributions to Özgür Gündem were about literature and sociology, not politics. She denied being a member of a terrorist organization. She said that her place on the newspaper's board was a "formality," and that she had no input on the newspaper's editorial policy.

Her lawyers unsuccessfully argued that she could not be held responsible for the newspaper's content because Turkey's press laws make editors-in-chief and responsible news editors responsible for a newspaper's content, according to the records of the arraignment. Her lawyers also emphasized that her articles for the newspaper were not about politics.

When prosecutors asked her about books and magazines police found when they raided and sealed Özgür Gündem's office on August 16, 2016-implementing a court's order to close the newspaper on charges of incitement, terrorism, and separatism-Erdoğan responded that she had been to the newspaper's office only once, to participate in a campaign that saw dozens of journalists, academics, activists, and public figures take turns symbolically acting as co-editors of the newspaper for a day to protest the persistent judicial harassment of the newspaper's staff.

Prosecutors submitted an indictment against Erdoğan and eight other Özgür Gündem journalists and staff to Istanbul's 23rd Court for Serious Crimes on November 12, 2016, according to press reports. Prosecutors asked the court to sentence Erdoğan and the eight others to life in prison on the charge of "disrupting the unity of the state and the integrity of the nation," in addition to 17 years and six months in prison for each additional charge of "being a member of an armed terrorist organization," and "making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization," according to press reports.

On November 23, 2016, however, the same court dropped two of the charges against Erdoğan and retained only the charge of membership in a terrorist organization, according to press reports.

Erdoğan reported health problems when she was first detained, but the conditions of her detention and her health have improved since, her lawyers told CPJ.

As of late 2016 no date had been set for Erdoğan's trial, her lawyer told CPJ.

Bilir Kaya, Özgür Gündem

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
August 16, 2016

Police in Istanbul detained Bilir Kaya on August 16, 2016, in a raid on the, pro-Kurdish newspaper Özgür Gündem's office, the Committee to Protect Journalists reported at the time. Istanbul's 10th Court of Penal Peace on August 22, 2016, arraigned Kaya, alongside Özgür Gündem's news editor, İnan Kızılkaya, on charges of being a member of a terrorist organization and ordered them jailed, pending trial.

According court records of the arraignment hearing, which CPJ has reviewed, the state alleged that Özgür Gündem was founded by and financed by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Turkey classes as a terrorist organization. The state alleged that the paper's editorial policy was evidence of the PKK's control of the newspaper, and cited in particular the newspaper's interviews with PKK leaders and articles written by PKK leaders, and charged that the paper sought to establish the grounds for mass demonstrations. As further evidence, the state said that a banned book about jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan was found in Özgür Gündem's office.

Kaya denied all the charges against him, the court records show. Kaya said the newspaper was financed by sales and advertisements, and that the PKK had no control over its finances or editorial policy. He told prosecutors that the newspaper sourced articles by PKK leaders from social media websites and reproduced them so that the Turkish public could be fully informed about current events, court records showed.

According to the court records, Kaya also told prosecutors that police beat him and cursed at him while he was being detained.

Prosecutors submitted an indictment against Kaya and eight other Özgür Gündem journalists and staff to Istanbul's 23rd Court for Serious Crimes on November 12, 2016, according to press reports. Prosecutors asked the court to sentence the editor and the eight others to life in prison on the charge of "disrupting the unity of the state and the integrity of the nation," in addition to 17 years and six months in prison for each additional charge of "being a member of an armed terrorist organization," and "making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization," according to press reports.

On November 23, the court approved the indictment, according to local press reports.

Istanbul's Eighth Court of Penal Peace on August 16, 2016, indefinitely suspended Özgür Gündem at the request of prosecutors beginning an investigation into the newspaper on suspicion it was a mouthpiece for the banned organization. The government on October 29, 2016, ordered the newspaper permanently shut down by emergency decree, CPJ reported at the time.

As of late 2016, Kaya was jailed in Istanbul's Silivri Prison.

İnan Kızılkaya, Özgür Gündem

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
August 16, 2016

İnan Kızılkaya, the former news editor of the shuttered pro-Kurdish daily Özgür Gündem, faces 105 criminal cases, 103 of which had moved to trial by the end of 2016, on charges of terrorism, "disrupting the unity of the state," insulting the Turkish nation, and insulting the president, according to his lawyer and court documents. If convicted on all counts in all 103 trials, Kızılkaya faces a life sentence and an additional 307 years in prison, plus fines.

Police in Istanbul detained Kızılkaya on August 16, 2016, in a raid on the newspaper's office, CPJ reported at the time. Istanbul's 10th Court of Penal Peace on August 22, 2016, arraigned Kızılkaya, alongside Özgür Gündem's editor, Bilir Kaya, on charges of being a member of a terrorist organization and ordered them jailed, pending trial.

According court records of the arraignment hearing, which CPJ has reviewed, the state alleged that Özgür Gündem was founded by and financed by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Turkey classes as a terrorist organization. The state alleged that the paper's editorial policy was evidence of the PKK's control of the newspaper, and cited in particular the newspaper's interviews with PKK leaders and articles written by PKK leaders, and charged that the paper sought to establish the grounds for mass demonstrations. As further evidence, the state said that a banned book about jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan was found both in Kızılkaya's home and in Özgür Gündem's office. As "responsible news editor," Kızılkaya was legally responsible for all the newspaper's content, the state said.

Kızılkaya denied all the charges against him, the court records show. Kızılkaya said the newspaper was financed by sales and advertisements, and that the PKK had no control over its financing or its editorial policy. He told prosecutors that the newspaper sourced articles by PKK leaders from social media websites and reproduced them so that the Turkish public could be fully informed about current events, court records showed.

According to the court records, Kızılkaya also told prosecutors that police beat him and cursed at him while he was being detained.

Prosecutors submitted an indictment against Kızılkaya and eight other Özgür Gündem journalists and staff to Istanbul's 23rd Court for Serious Crimes on November 12, 2016, according to press reports. Prosecutors asked the court to sentence the editor and the eight others to life in prison on the charge of "disrupting the unity of the state and the integrity of the nation," in addition to 17 years and six months in prison for each additional charge of "being a member of an armed terrorist organization," and "making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization," according to press reports.

On November 23, the court approved the indictment, according to press reports.

Istanbul's Eighth Court of Penal Peace on August 16, 2016, indefinitely suspended Özgür Gündem at the request of prosecutors beginning an investigation into the newspaper on suspicion was a mouthpiece for the banned organization. The government on October 29, 2016, ordered the newspaper permanently shut down by emergency decree, CPJ reported at the time.

Kızılkaya's lawyer, Özcan Kılıç, told CPJ that of the 102 other criminal cases against the editor, 92 were on terrorism charges, and were pending before Istanbul's 13th, 14th, and 22nd courts for serious crimes in late 2016.

The editor also faces four trials before Istanbul's Second Court of First Instance on charges of "insulting the Turkish nation, the state of the Republic of Turkey," and Turkish government institutions in connection with Özgür Gündem's coverage. If convicted of that charge in each of those trials, Kızılkaya could face a maximum total of an additional eight years in prison. Kızılkaya also faces five criminal cases on charges of "insulting the president," each of which carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison.

As of late 2016, Kızılkaya was jailed in Silivri Prison in Istanbul.

Sebahattin Koyuncu, Dicle News Agency (DİHA)

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
August 23, 2016

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.

Gültekin Avcı, Bugün

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
August 25, 2016

Police arrested Gültekin Avcı on August 25, 2016, after the journalist had spent only weeks out of prison.

On September 20, 2015, the Second Penal Court of Peace in Istanbul ordered Avcı to be held in pretrial detention on charges including "attempting to overthrow the government" and being a member of a terrorist organization, according to news reports. Avcı was detained two days before that in the western city of Izmir, reports said.

Prosecutors charged Avcı in connection with a series of columns he wrote in 2013 and 2014 for the independent daily Bugün (Today) in which he alleged that the Turkish National Intelligence Organization, the country's spy agency, had links to a group called Tawhid-Salam, the English-language daily Today's Zaman reported. News reports said that Turkish authorities declared the Iranian-backed group a terrorist organization in 2014.

News reports cited Avcı's lawyer as saying the journalist was not allowed to testify in court. The lawyer also said Avcı had been mistreated in custody and denied food, the reports said.

Four police officers were detained in connection with the same case, but three were later released, news reports said. Avcı and the officers were accused of "attempting to overthrow the government," with the journalist allegedly using his column to try to turn public opinion against the ruling party, local reports said.

Avcı is a former prosecutor and the legal representative of Hidayet Karaca, chairman of the Samanyolu Broadcast Group, who was imprisoned on anti-state charges in December 2014, according to news reports.

Avcı was released from Silivri Prison in Istanbul on June 9, 2016, on pretrial detention, having spent seven months behind bars awaiting trial, CPJ reported at the time. His trial had been scheduled to resume on August 2, 2016, but on August 25, 2016, police in the coastal city of Izmir detained him again as part of a sweeping purge of suspected followers of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, whom the Turkish government accuses of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey that it alleges masterminded a failed July 2016 military coup.

A court in Izmir ordered the journalist jailed late on the night of August 25, 2016, according to reports published the following day. According to the pro-government daily newspaper Yeni Şafak, the court arrested Avcı for "being member of an armed terrorist organization."

As of late 2016, Avcı jailed in Istanbul, awaiting trial on this new charge.

Atilla Taş, Meydan

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
August 31, 2016

Taş, a former pop singer turned columnist for the now shuttered daily Meydan newspaper and social media dissident, was detained on August 31 as he was driving to Istanbul to turn himself in, after learning from news reports that police sought him for interrogation on suspicion he was a follower of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, whom the Turkish government accuses of maintaining a terrorist organization and parallel state structure within Turkey - the Fethullah Gülen Terror Organization, or FETÖ, as the government calls it - that it says was behind a failed military coup on July 15, 2016.

Taş said he cut his holiday short and drove back to Istanbul to testify as soon as he learned police sought him. The former columnist and singer tweeted a live video of himself on the way back to Istanbul to his 1.5 million followers on Twitter hours before his arrest.

Istanbul's First Court of Penal Peace on September 3 arraigned Taş and ordered him jailed, pending trial, on charges of willingly aiding a terrorist group, based in part on his work for Meydan, which police raided the day after the attempted coup. According to the court record of the arraignment hearing, which CPJ reviewed, Taş rhetorically asked the court, "If I am guilty because I worked at [Meydan] newspaper, why did my state allow an armed group to publish a newspaper?"

Asked about his work for Meydan, Taş said he is a Kemalist, a social democrat, and a member of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), a secular ideological rival of the Gülenists, and that the editor of Meydan knew this when he hired Taş.

Taş' lawyer, Ali Deniz Ceylan, told the court that his client's tweets made up the essence of the accusation against him. Ceylan added that the tweets were within the scope protected by the principle of freedom of expression.

As of late 2016, Taş had not yet been indicted, and no date had been set for his trial.

Mutlu Çölgeçen, Millet

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
August 31, 2016

Police detained Çölgeçen, former news coordinator for the shuttered daily newspaper Millet, in Istanbul on August 31, 2016. Istanbul First Court of Penal Peace ordered the journalist jailed, pending trial, on September 2, 2016.

According to records of his arraignment hearing, which CPJ has reviewed, asked about his work for Millet, the journalist told the court that he had worked as a journalist since 1994 at various newspapers and television channels before joining the daily Millet in September 2014 as the news coordinator. He told the court he quit the newspaper on August 21, 2015, following an argument he had with a colleague, and that he had been unemployed since.

The journalist denied that he was a follower of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, whom the Turkish government accuses of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" in Turkey (FETÖ/PDY, by its Turkish acronym) and of masterminding a July 15, 2016, failed military coup. Çölgeçen denied having any connection to the failed military coup.

The court ordered him jailed, pending trial, based on its "strong suspicion" that Çölgeçen "willingly and knowingly helped the organization," and sent him to prison, pending trial.

The daily newspaper Millet was one of several media outlets owned by the Koza İpek Group, which the government took over in October 2015, alleging it had links to FETÖ/PDY. Trustees appointed by the government hollowed out media outlets the company owned and shut them down in March 2016, saying they were not financially viable.

As of late 2016, the journalist had not been indicted, and no date had been set for his trial.

Necmiye Alpay, Özgür Gündem

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
August 31, 2016

Alpay, a writer, linguist, and member of the shuttered daily newspaper Özgür Gündem's advisory board, was detained on August 31, 2016, after she testified to prosecutors in Istanbul. Istanbul's Eighth Court for Serious Crimes arraigned her on the same day and ordered her held on terrorism and separatism charges stemming from the newspaper's coverage on the day she symbolically acted as co-editor of Özgür Gündem to protest the persistent judicial harassment of the newspaper's staff.

CPJ reviewed the records of Alpay's interrogation by prosecutors and the court's order for her detention pending trial. In both, she testified that her position on the board was symbolic, and that she had never attended a board meeting or published a column in the newspaper. She testified that she was opposed to violence and terrorism.

Her lawyers unsuccessfully argued that Alpay could not be held responsible for the newspaper's content and editorial policy since Turkey's press laws stipulate that editors-in-chief and responsible news editors are accountable for the newspaper's content. The court disagreed, and ordered her jailed pending trial on charges of "disrupting the unity of the state and the integrity of the country" and "being member of an armed terrorist organization," court documents show.

According to the documents, the court considered Özgür Gündem a propaganda outlet of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Turkey lists as a terrorist organization, and connection to the newspaper is sufficient grounds for arrest and trial on charges of terrorism and separatism.

Prosecutors submitted an indictment against Alpay and eight other Özgür Gündem journalists and staff to Istanbul's 23rd Court for Serious Crimes on November 12, 2016, according to press reports. Prosecutors asked the court to sentence Alpay and the eight others to life in prison on the charge of "disrupting the unity of the state and the integrity of the nation," in addition to 17 years and six months in prison for each additional charge of "being a member of an armed terrorist organization," and "making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization," according to press reports.

On November 23, 2016, however, the same court dropped two of the charges against Alpay and retained only the charge of membership in a terrorist organization, according to press reports.

A court ordered Özgür Gündem closed on August 16, 2016, on charges of propagandizing for the PKK, incitement to insurrection, and publishing articles that threaten the security and territorial integrity of the state, CPJ reported at the time.

As of late 2016 no date has been set for Alpay's trial, her lawyer told CPJ.

Murat Aksoy, Yeni Hayat

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
September 1, 2016

Police in Istanbul detained Aksoy, a former columnist for the shuttered daily newspaper Yeni Hayat, on September 1, 2016, as part of a sweeping purge of suspected followers of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, whom the Turkish government accuses of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (FETÖ/PDY, by its Turkish acronym), and of masterminding a July 15, 2016, failed military coup.

Istanbul's First Court of Penal Peace on September 3, 2016, ordered Aksoy jailed, pending trial on charges of willingly aiding a terrorist group, FETÖ/PDY.

According to court documents seen by CPJ, 48-year-old Aksoy told the court, in response to questioning, that he wrote a column for the pro-government daily Yeni Şafak until January 2014, but the newspaper fired him for "deviating from the general editorial line of the newspaper."

Aksoy said later he wrote columns for the daily newspaper Millet, which a court in October 2015 ordered placed under government-appointed trustees for what the court ruled were the newspaper's ties to FETÖ/PDY. Following Millet's takeover, Aksoy told the court, he wrote columns for news website Haberdar until June 2016, when he moved to the daily newspaper Yeni Hayat.

The state telecommunications regulator shut down Haberdar on July 17, 2016. The government used emergency powers it assumed after the July 2016 failed coup attempt to shut down Yeni Hayat by decree on July 27, 2016. Yeni Hayat was founded by journalists from the daily newspaper Zaman, after an Istanbul court in March 2016 ordered the Feza Media Group, which owned Zaman and several other media outlets, placed under the trusteeship of figures appointed by the government. The government used emergency powers it assumed after the failed July 15, 2016, military coup to order the newspaper closed by decree on July 27, 2016.

Aksoy told the court he stopped writing for Yeni Hayat after July 15, 2016, according to the documents seen by CPJ.

According to the record of his arraignment, prosecutors asked Aksoy why he deleted posts from his Twitter account before he was arrested. He was also asked about a comment he made on a TV program in September 2015. Prosecutors understood this comment as calling for a military intervention in politics, but Aksoy said he was only commenting on the mood in Turkish politics before the November 1, 2015, elections. The court records do not indicate what specific comment Aksoy made, or on what television program he made it.

Aksoy's lawyer, Meriç Eyüboğlu, told the court that the defense could not see the evidence against her client, as there was court order for secrecy of the investigation, which impinged on her client's right to a fair trial. She said the prosecution's questions about Aksoy's columns and social media activity led the defense to understand that prosecutors sought the journalist's arrest for his journalistic activities.

The court, explaining its ruling to jail Aksoy pending trial, cited "concrete evidence" the journalist had aided FETÖ/PDY, without specifying what that evidence was.

As of late 2016, Aksoy had not been indicted, and there was no date set for his trial. He is in Istanbul's Silivri prison.

Ahmet Altan, Taraf

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
September 10, 2016

Police first arrested Altan, a well-known novelist and journalist, alongside his brother, economics professor and columnist Mehmet Altan, on September 10, 2016, on suspicion they were followers of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, whom the Turkish government accuses of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" within Turkey - the Fethullah Gülen Terror Organization, or FETÖ, as the government calls it - and of staging a failed military coup on July 15, 2016.

Early on September 22, 2016, Istanbul's 10th Court of Penal Peace ordered Ahmet Altan released on probation and banned him from international travel. The same court ordered his brother Mehmet jailed, pending trial.

Prosecutors successfully appealed Ahmet Altan's release to the court that originally ordered his arrest, Istanbul's First Court of Penal Peace, whichpromptly issued a second arrest warrant. On September 22, after a few hours of freedom, Ahmet returned to the prosecutor's office to turn himself in.

According to arrest order, a copy of which was published by news website T24, prosecutors considered his duty as the founding editor of the daily newspaper Taraf as evidence he was part of the Gülenist network. Altan left his post at Taraf in 2012. The government used emergency powers it gave itself after the coup attempt to shut down Taraf by decree on July 27, 2016.

Prosecutors accused Altan of being in contact with "FETÖ members" and of acting with them for the same aim under the group's purported hierarchy. Prosecutors also asserted that Taraf was established to fulfill the organization's aims, and that the stories printed in the newspaper were "in the line with orders and instructions from the group." They cited his reporting on alleged conspiracies that saw dozens of soldiers tried for plotting against the government as evidence that he participated in the takeover of the military by Gülen's group.

"Daily Taraf took an active role in the crime of attempting to topple the government... and made efforts to influence public opinion," prosecutors alleged, according to the order to jail Altan. They cited the government's decree shuttering Taraf as evidence that the newspaper was tied to FETÖ.

Altan is also accused of criticizing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Can Erzincan TV based on instructions from FETÖ, and of trying to influence public opinion to conform to the group's aims. The government used emergency powers shut down Can Erzincan by decree on July 27.

Prosecutors said they believed Altan knew about the attempted coup in advance because of his July 14 comments on Can Erzincan TV, where he appeared with his brother and journalist Nazlı Ilıcak, and two of Altan's columns.

The state quoted a May 2016 column headlined "Absolute Fear," in which Altan wrote, "I assume we are watching the final act of a bad play. The cost is a little heavy... but it is good to know that it will end."

Prosecutors also cited a June 2016 column headlined, "Walking All Over," in which the journalist wrote, "When the walls of the palace are demolished by shells, people with guns will kill themselves in the corridors, and he will understand what civil war is, but he will be too late."

Altan has not been indicted, and no trial date had been set as of late 2016.

Mehmet Altan, Can Erzincan TV, Özgür Düşünce

Medium:
Internet, Print, Television
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
September 10, 2016

Mehmet Altan, a columnist, professor of economics, and public figure, was detained by police on September 10, 2016, alongside his brother Ahmet Altan, a well-known novelist and journalist.

Istanbul's 10th Court of Penal Peace on September 22 arraigned Altan on charges of being a member of a terrorist organization and attempting to overthrow the government. The charges stem from the allegation that Altan is a follower of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, whom the Turkish government accuses of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" within Turkey - the Fethullah Gülen Terror Organization, or FETÖ, as the government calls it - that it says was behind a failed military coup on July 15, 2016.

According to the court's order to jail Altan pending trial, a copy of which was published by the news website T24, prosecutors alleged FETÖ tried to shape public opinion to support the coup in advance, and that the organization did so through news media it controlled. The state alleged that on July 14, the day before the attempted coup, Altan had "mentioned that there is an atmosphere suitable for a coup" on a TV show he had co-hosted on Can Erzincan TV together with another journalist, Nazlı Ilıcak, who is under arrest on similar accusations. The government used emergency powers it claimed after the coup to close Can Erzincan TV by decree on July 27.

Prosecutors alleged Altan had advance knowledge of the coup attempt, citing his words on the TV program as: "Probably inside the Turkish state there is a structure watching, documenting all these developments more than the outside world. It is not certain when [this structure] will show its face."

The court rejected the defense's argument at the arraignment that Altan's statements constituted protected speech, since it did not consider them to have been made "for the public good."

"Explaining your thoughts and broadcasting them continuously for years as propaganda with the aim of laying the groundwork for a military coup...cannot be considered as freedom of expression and freedom of press," the state asserted.

Altan denied all charges.

In court, interrogators-court documents published by T24 list only Altan's answers, not the questions or who was asking them-asked Altan who controlled the newspaper Özgür Düşünce, where he worked, whether he had met Gülen, and whether he had kissed his hand. Altan responded that he had met Gülen once for journalistic purposes, and denied having kissed the preacher's hand.

As of late 2016, Altan had not been indicted and no trial date had been set.

Sadık Demir, Fırat Press Broadcast

Medium:
Print, Radio
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
October 1, 2016

Police in Turkey's southeastern province of Şanlıurfa on October 1, 2016, detained Sadık Demir-chairman of the board of Fırat Press Broadcast, which owns Radio Karacadağ. The government on September 30, 2016, had ordered the radio station closed by decree, using emergency powers it assumed after a failed July 2016 military coup, saying the station was a threat to national security, CPJ reported at the time.

Urfa's First Court of Penal Peace on October 18 ordered Demir jailed on charges of "making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization," the PKK, in connection with Radio Karacadağ broadcasts, according to partial court documents reviewed by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The portion of the record of Demir's arraignment hearing that CPJ was able to review noted that Demir denied all terrorism charges against him. The document notes that Demir's lawyer argued that Demir's position at Fırat Press Broadcast meant that he was not responsible for Radio Karacadağ's editorial content, and references Demir's answers to police interrogators, to which CPJ did not have access.

The court concluded there was a reasonable suspicion that Demir produced propaganda for a terrorist organization through Radio Karacadağ, and ordered him jailed, pending trial. As of late 2016, no date had been set for that trial to begin.

As of late 2016, Demir was held in Şanlıurfa Prison, according to his lawyer.

Cemil Uğur, Evrensel

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
October 6, 2016

Police detained Uğur, who covers the southern Turkish city of Mersin for the leftist daily Evrensel, on August 23, 2016, while he was reporting on a demonstration calling for the release of Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Turkey classes as a terrorist organization, CPJ reported at the time. On September 8, 2016, a court ordered the journalist released on probation, pending trial on charges of "making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization" and "being a member of a [terrorist] organization," CPJ reported at the time.

Police again detained him on October 6, 2016, when he went to the police station to ask for permission to leave the province, in accordance with the terms of his pretrial probation, Evrensel reported. CPJ was unable to determine why he was detained again. Mersin's First Court of Penal Peace on the same day ordered him jailed at Mersin prison, pending trial by Mersin's Second Court of Penal Peace on charges of "making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization" and "being a member of a [terrorist] organization," Evrensel reported.

The state based its allegations on the journalist's presence at the pro-PKK demonstration and his possession of a press release from an association of families of people imprisoned on charges of being PKK members.

Material published to Uğur's account on the social media website Facebook-including, for example, a picture of jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan-was also used as evidence that he was propagandizing for the PKK and was a member of the banned group. Uğur denied the charges, and said the posts were published when his account was hacked, according to court records.

İdris Sayılgan, Dicle News Agency (DİHA)

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
October 17, 2016

Police in Turkey's eastern province of Muş detained İdris Sayılgan, a reporter for the pro-Kurdish Dicle News Agency (DİHA), on October 17, 2016, according to press reports. On October 25, 2016, a court in Muş jailed him pending trial on charges of being member of a terrorist organization, according to press reports, which also said he was held at Muş Prison. As of late 2016, no trial date had been set.

Prosecutors questioned the journalist about his professional activities, according to records of the interrogation reviewed by the Committee to Protect Journalists. They asked Sayılgan about recorded phone conversations between the journalist and people he said were journalistic contacts. They asked the reporter about several stories he had published, including on the firing of a local union leader, on the deaths and funerals of members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)-which Turkey classes as a terrorist organization-and on preparations for Labor Day in eastern Turkey, for the pro-PKK television station Med Nûçe TV. Interrogators also asked Sayılgan about his reporting on the arrest of a Kurdish politician's daughter on suspicion of membership in the PKK, and his requests to interview a PKK leader, the documents show.

Prosecutors asked the journalist about a recorded phone call he had made related to the production of a DİHA documentary about a slain PKK fighter, a post the journalist published on Facebook about the documentary, whether DİHA had an editorial policy of covering the deaths of PKK militants, and how rigorous the editorial process at the news agency was. Sayılgan denied producing propaganda for the PKK, the record of his interrogation shows.

Sayılgan told his interrogators that he had written thousands of news stories, and that prosecutors were focusing on a few of his published stories to make him appear guilty, the records show.

Turkish authorities persistently targeted DİHA journalists with 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.

Toğay Okay, Özgür Gelecek

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
October 27, 2016

Police in Istanbul detained Toğay Okay, a reporter for the socialist weekly newspaper Özgür Gelecek, on October 27, 2016, according to press reports. Istanbul's Second Court of Penal Peace on November 8, 2016, ordered him jailed pending trial on charges of being member of a terrorist organization, according to court documents reviewed by CPJ.

The charges stem from Okay's coverage in late 2015 of the funerals of three militants with two outlawed armed groups, the Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist-Leninist (TİKKO) and the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP), who were killed in clashes with Turkish security forces.

In his court testimony, which CPJ has reviewed, Okay said under interrogation that he had attended the funerals as a reporter, but that he also personally knew one of the deceased, Cengiz İçli, because the latter had visited a publishing house where Okay had worked when İçli was a student. Okay also said that he had not participated in rallies in support of the deceased.

The court nevertheless found there was a "strong suspicion" that the journalist was a member of an illegal organization and ordered the journalist jailed pending trial. He is being held in Sanliurfa E-Type Prison. As of late 2016, he had not been indicted, and no date had been set for his trial.

Bülent Utku, Cumhuriyet

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
October 31, 2016

Police detained Bülent Utku, a board member of the foundation that publishes the embattled opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, after a raid of the newspaper's main office in Istanbul on October 31, 2016, alongside at least 11 other staff members and board members.

The Chief Prosecutor's Office of Istanbul released an official statement soon after the raid, saying the journalists were detained on suspicion of producing propaganda for the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and what the government calls the Fethullah Gülen Terror Organization (FETÖ), two rival groups the Turkish government classes as terrorist organizations. The statement said investigators were looking into alleged irregularities in the last elections of the board of directors of the foundation that owns Cumhuriyet, and that the newspaper published pro-coup propaganda in advance of a July 2016 failed coup attempt.

Istanbul's Ninth Court of Penal Peace on November 6, 2016, jailed Utku and eight other Cumhuriyet journalists and directors, pending trial on accusations of "acting on behalf of an armed terrorist organization while not being a member." Because an October 30, 2016, court order has made the investigation into the newspaper, its staff, and employees secret, defense lawyers and the public have limited access to the state's evidence.

Cumhuriyet reportedthat the court's order to jail Utku and his colleagues pending trial cited several of the newspaper's news stories and headlines that authorities claimed were propaganda for FETÖ and the PKK.

Among the reports that interrogators raised was a 2015 article alleging that Turkey's intelligence service was smuggling weapons to Islamist groups in Syria under cover of humanitarian aid, according to Cumhuriyet. Can Dündar-who resigned as the newspaper's editor in August 2016 and announced he would not return to Turkey until the state of emergency imposed after the July 2016 failed coup attempt was lifted-and former Ankara correspondent Erdem Gül face a separate trial in connection with that report. CPJ in November 2016 honored Dündar with its International Press Freedom Award.

Cumhuriyet also reported, citing the court order, that authorities accused the newspaper of being sympathetic to the Gülenist network because the newspaper referred to the group as the "Hizmet movement," as its adherents do, rather than using the government's name, FETÖ. Authorities argued that Cumhuriyet, Turkey's oldest newspaper, had changed its editorial policy, and that it was being manipulated by FETÖ and the PKK, Cumhuriyet reported.

As of late 2016, Utku was jailed at Silivri Prison in Istanbul, pending trial, the date of which had not been set, according to press reports.

Güray Öz, Cumhuriyet

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
October 31, 2016

Police detained Güray Öz, a board member of the foundation that publishes the embattled opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, after a raid of the newspaper's main office in Istanbul on October 31, 2016, alongside at least 11 other staff members and board members.

The Chief Prosecutor's Office of Istanbul released an official statement soon after the raid, saying the journalists were detained on suspicion of producing propaganda for the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and what the government calls the Fethullah Gülen Terror Organization (FETÖ), two rival groups the Turkish government classes as terrorist organizations. The statement said investigators were looking into alleged irregularities in the last elections of the board of directors of the foundation that owns Cumhuriyet, and that the newspaper published pro-coup propaganda in advance of a July 2016 failed coup attempt.

Istanbul's Ninth Court of Penal Peace on November 6, 2016, jailed Öz and eight other Cumhuriyet journalists and directors, pending trial on accusations of "acting on behalf of an armed terrorist organization while not being a member." Because an October 30, 2016, court order has made the investigation into the newspaper, its staff, and employees secret, defense lawyers and the public have limited access to the state's evidence.

Cumhuriyet reportedthat the court's order to jail Öz and his colleagues pending trial cited several of the newspaper's news stories and headlines that authorities claimed were propaganda for FETÖ and the PKK.

Among the reports that interrogators raised was a 2015 article alleging that Turkey's intelligence service was smuggling weapons to Islamist groups in Syria under cover of humanitarian aid, according to Cumhuriyet. Can Dündar-who resigned as the newspaper's editor in August 2016 and announced he would not return to Turkey until the state of emergency imposed after the July 2016 failed coup attempt was lifted-and former Ankara correspondent Erdem Gül face a separate trial in connection with that report. CPJ in November 2016 honored Dündar with its International Press Freedom Award.

Cumhuriyet also reported, citing the court order, that authorities accused the newspaper of being sympathetic to the Gülenist network because the newspaper referred to the group as the "Hizmet movement," as its adherents do, rather than using the government's name, FETÖ. Authorities argued that Cumhuriyet, Turkey's oldest newspaper, had changed its editorial policy, and that it was being manipulated by FETÖ and the PKK, Cumhuriyet reported.

As of late 2016, Öz was jailed at Silivri Prison in Istanbul, pending trial, the date of which had not been set, according to press reports.

Hakan Kara, Cumhuriyet

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
October 31, 2016

Police detained Hakan Kara, a board member of the foundation that publishes the embattled opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, after a raid of the newspaper's main office in Istanbul on October 31, 2016, alongside at least 11 other staff members and board members.

The Chief Prosecutor's Office of Istanbul released an official statement soon after the raid, saying the journalists were detained on suspicion of producing propaganda for the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and what the government calls the Fethullah Gülen Terror Organization (FETÖ), two rival groups the Turkish government classes as terrorist organizations. The statement said investigators were looking into alleged irregularities in the last elections of the board of directors of the foundation that owns Cumhuriyet, and that the newspaper published pro-coup propaganda in advance of a July 2016 failed coup attempt.

Istanbul's Ninth Court of Penal Peace on November 6, 2016, jailed Kara and eight other Cumhuriyet journalists and directors, pending trial on accusations of "acting on behalf of an armed terrorist organization while not being a member." Because an October 30, 2016, court order has made the investigation into the newspaper, its staff, and employees secret, defense lawyers and the public have limited access to the state's evidence.

Cumhuriyet reportedthat the court's order to jail Kara and his colleagues pending trial cited several of the newspaper's news stories and headlines that authorities claimed were propaganda for FETÖ and the PKK.

Among the reports that interrogators raised was a 2015 article alleging that Turkey's intelligence service was smuggling weapons to Islamist groups in Syria under cover of humanitarian aid, according to Cumhuriyet. Can Dündar-who resigned as the newspaper's editor in August 2016 and announced he would not return to Turkey until the state of emergency imposed after the July 2016 failed coup attempt was lifted-and former Ankara correspondent Erdem Gül face a separate trial in connection with that report. CPJ in November 2016 honored Dündar with its International Press Freedom Award.

Cumhuriyet also reported, citing the court order, that authorities accused the newspaper of being sympathetic to the Gülenist network because the newspaper referred to the group as the "Hizmet movement," as its adherents do, rather than using the government's name, FETÖ. Authorities argued that Cumhuriyet, Turkey's oldest newspaper, had changed its editorial policy, and that it was being manipulated by FETÖ and the PKK, Cumhuriyet reported.

As of late 2016, Kara was jailed at Silivri Prison in Istanbul, pending trial, the date of which had not been set, according to press reports.

Kadri Gürsel, Cumhuriyet

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
October 31, 2016

Police detained Kadri Gürsel, a columnist and publishing consultant for the embattled opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet's literary supplement, in a raid of the newspaper's main office in Istanbul on October 31, 2016, alongside at least 11 other staff members and board members of the foundation that publishes it.

The Chief Prosecutor's Office of Istanbul released an official statement soon after the raid, saying the journalists were detained on suspicion of producing propaganda for the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and what the government calls the Fethullah Gülen Terror Organization (FETÖ), two rival groups the Turkish government classes as terrorist organizations. The statement said investigators were looking into alleged irregularities in the last elections of the board of directors of the foundation that owns Cumhuriyet, and that the newspaper published pro-coup propaganda in advance of a July 2016 failed coup attempt.

Istanbul's Ninth Court of Penal Peace on November 6, 2016, jailed Gürsel and eight other Cumhuriyet journalists and directors, pending trial on accusations of "acting on behalf of an armed terrorist organization while not being a member." Because an October 30, 2016, court order has made the investigation into the newspaper, its staff, and employees secret, defense lawyers and the public have limited access to the state's evidence.

Cumhuriyet reportedthat the court's order to jail Gürsel and his colleagues pending trial cited several of the newspaper's news stories and headlines that authorities claimed were propaganda for FETÖ and the PKK.

Among the reports that interrogators raised was a 2015 article alleging that Turkey's intelligence service was smuggling weapons to Islamist groups in Syria under cover of humanitarian aid, according to Cumhuriyet. Can Dündar-who resigned as the newspaper's editor in August 2016 and announced he would not return to Turkey until the state of emergency imposed after the July 2016 failed coup attempt was lifted-and former Ankara correspondent Erdem Gül face a separate trial in connection with that report. CPJ in November 2016 honored Dündar with its International Press Freedom Award.

Cumhuriyet also reported, citing the court document, that authorities accused the newspaper of being sympathetic to the Gülenist network because the newspaper referred to the group as the "Hizmet movement," as its adherents do, rather than using the government's name, FETÖ. Authorities argued that Cumhuriyet, Turkey's oldest newspaper, had changed its editorial policy, and that it was being manipulated by FETÖ and the PKK, Cumhuriyet reported.

As of late 2016, Gürsel was jailed at Silivri Prison in Istanbul, pending trial, the date of which had not been set, according to press reports.

Murat Sabuncu, Cumhuriyet

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
October 31, 2016

Police detained Murat Sabuncu, editor-in-chief of the embattled pro-opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, in a raid of the newspaper's main office in Istanbul on October 31, 2016, alongside at least 11 other staff members and board members of the foundation that publishes it.

The Chief Prosecutor's Office of Istanbul released an official statement soon after the raid, saying the journalists were detained on suspicion of producing propaganda for the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and what the government calls the Fethullah Gülen Terror Organization (FETÖ), two rival groups the Turkish government classes as terrorist organizations. The statement said investigators were looking into alleged irregularities in the last elections of the board of directors of the foundation that owns Cumhuriyet, and that the newspaper published pro-coup propaganda in advance of a July 2016 failed coup attempt.

Istanbul's Ninth Court of Penal Peace on November 6, 2016, jailed Sabuncu and eight other Cumhuriyet journalists and directors, pending trial on accusations of "acting on behalf of an armed terrorist organization while not being a member." Because an October 30, 2016, court order has made the investigation into the newspaper, its staff, and employees secret, defense lawyers and the public have limited access to the state's evidence.

Cumhuriyet reportedthat the court's order to jail Sabuncu and his colleagues pending trial cited several of the newspaper's news stories and headlines that authorities claimed were propaganda for FETÖ and the PKK.

Among the reports that interrogators raised was a 2015 article alleging that Turkey's intelligence service was smuggling weapons to Islamist groups in Syria under cover of humanitarian aid, according to Cumhuriyet. Can Dündar-who resigned as the newspaper's editor in August 2016 and announced he would not return to Turkey until the state of emergency imposed after the July 2016 failed coup attempt was lifted-and former Ankara correspondent Erdem Gül face a separate trial in connection with that report. CPJ in November 2016 honored Dündar with its International Press Freedom Award.

Cumhuriyet also reported, citing the court document, that authorities accused the newspaper of being sympathetic to the Gülenist network because the newspaper referred to the group as the "Hizmet movement," as its adherents do, rather than using the government's name, FETÖ. Authorities argued that Cumhuriyet, Turkey's oldest newspaper, had changed its editorial policy, and that it was being manipulated by FETÖ and the PKK, Cumhuriyet reported.

As of late 2016, Sabuncu was jailed at Silivri Prison in Istanbul, pending trial, the date of which had not been set, according to press reports.

Musa Kart, Cumhuriyet

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
October 31, 2016

Police detained Musa Kart, a cartoonist for the embattled pro-opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, in a raid of the newspaper's main office in Istanbul on October 31, 2016, alongside at least 11 other staff members and board members of the foundation that publishes it.

The Chief Prosecutor's Office of Istanbul released an official statement soon after the raid, saying the journalists were detained on suspicion of producing propaganda for the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and what the government calls the Fethullah Gülen Terror Organization (FETÖ), two rival groups the Turkish government classes as terrorist organizations. The statement said investigators were looking into alleged irregularities in the last elections of the board of directors of the foundation that owns Cumhuriyet, and that the newspaper published pro-coup propaganda in advance of a July 2016 failed coup attempt.

Istanbul's Ninth Court of Penal Peace on November 6, 2016, jailed Kart and eight other Cumhuriyet journalists and directors, pending trial on accusations of "acting on behalf of an armed terrorist organization while not being a member." Because an October 30, 2016, court order has made the investigation into the newspaper, its staff, and employees secret, defense lawyers and the public have limited access to the state's evidence.

Cumhuriyet reportedthat the court's order to jail Kart and his colleagues pending trial cited several of the newspaper's news stories and headlines that authorities claimed were propaganda for FETÖ and the PKK.

Among the reports that interrogators raised was a 2015 article alleging that Turkey's intelligence service was smuggling weapons to Islamist groups in Syria under cover of humanitarian aid, according to Cumhuriyet. Can Dündar-who resigned as the newspaper's editor in August 2016 and announced he would not return to Turkey until the state of emergency imposed after the July 2016 failed coup attempt was lifted-and former Ankara correspondent Erdem Gül face a separate trial in connection with that report. CPJ in November 2016 honored Dündar with its International Press Freedom Award.

Cumhuriyet also reported, citing the court document, that authorities accused the newspaper of being sympathetic to the Gülenist network because the newspaper referred to the group as the "Hizmet movement," as its adherents do, rather than using the government's name, FETÖ. Authorities argued that Cumhuriyet, Turkey's oldest newspaper, had changed its editorial policy, and that it was being manipulated by FETÖ and the PKK, Cumhuriyet reported.

As of late 2016, Kart was jailed at Silivri Prison in Istanbul, pending trial, the date of which had not been set, according to press reports.

Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Cumhuriyet

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
October 31, 2016

Police detained Mustafa Kemal Güngör, a board member of the foundation that publishes the embattled opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, after a raid of the newspaper's main office in Istanbul on October 31, 2016, alongside at least 11 other staff members and board members.

The Chief Prosecutor's Office of Istanbul released an official statement soon after the raid, saying the journalists were detained on suspicion of producing propaganda for the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and what the government calls the Fethullah Gülen Terror Organization (FETÖ), two rival groups the Turkish government classes as terrorist organizations. The statement said investigators were looking into alleged irregularities in the last elections of the board of directors of the foundation that owns Cumhuriyet, and that the newspaper published pro-coup propaganda in advance of a July 2016 failed coup attempt.

Istanbul's Ninth Court of Penal Peace on November 6, 2016, jailed Güngör and eight other Cumhuriyet journalists and directors, pending trial on accusations of "acting on behalf of an armed terrorist organization while not being a member." Because an October 30, 2016, court order has made the investigation into the newspaper, its staff, and employees secret, defense lawyers and the public have limited access to the state's evidence.

Cumhuriyet reportedthat the court's order to jail Güngör and his colleagues pending trial cited several of the newspaper's news stories and headlines that authorities claimed were propaganda for FETÖ and the PKK.

Among the reports that interrogators raised was a 2015 article alleging that Turkey's intelligence service was smuggling weapons to Islamist groups in Syria under cover of humanitarian aid, according to Cumhuriyet. Can Dündar-who resigned as the newspaper's editor in August 2016 and announced he would not return to Turkey until the state of emergency imposed after the July 2016 failed coup attempt was lifted-and former Ankara correspondent Erdem Gül face a separate trial in connection with that report. CPJ in November 2016 honored Dündar with its International Press Freedom Award.

Cumhuriyet also reported, citing the court order, that authorities accused the newspaper of being sympathetic to the Gülenist network because the newspaper referred to the group as the "Hizmet movement," as its adherents do, rather than using the government's name, FETÖ. Authorities argued that Cumhuriyet, Turkey's oldest newspaper, had changed its editorial policy, and that it was being manipulated by FETÖ and the PKK, Cumhuriyet reported.

As of late 2016, Güngör was jailed at Silivri Prison in Istanbul, pending trial, the date of which had not been set, according to press reports.

Önder Çelik, Cumhuriyet

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
October 31, 2016

Police detained Önder Çelik, a board member of the foundation that publishes the embattled opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, after a raid of the newspaper's main office in Istanbul on October 31, 2016, alongside at least 11 other staff members and board members.

The Chief Prosecutor's Office of Istanbul released an official statement soon after the raid, saying the journalists were detained on suspicion of producing propaganda for the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and what the government calls the Fethullah Gülen Terror Organization (FETÖ), two rival groups the Turkish government classes as terrorist organizations. The statement said investigators were looking into alleged irregularities in the last elections of the board of directors of the foundation that owns Cumhuriyet, and that the newspaper published pro-coup propaganda in advance of a July 2016 failed coup attempt.

Istanbul's Ninth Court of Penal Peace on November 6, 2016, jailed Çelik and eight other Cumhuriyet journalists and directors, pending trial on accusations of "acting on behalf of an armed terrorist organization while not being a member." Because an October 30, 2016, court order has made the investigation into the newspaper, its staff, and employees secret, defense lawyers and the public have limited access to the state's evidence.

Cumhuriyet reportedthat the court's order to jail Çelik and his colleagues pending trial cited several of the newspaper's news stories and headlines that authorities claimed were propaganda for FETÖ and the PKK.

Among the reports that interrogators raised was a 2015 article alleging that Turkey's intelligence service was smuggling weapons to Islamist groups in Syria under cover of humanitarian aid, according to Cumhuriyet. Can Dündar-who resigned as the newspaper's editor in August 2016 and announced he would not return to Turkey until the state of emergency imposed after the July 2016 failed coup attempt was lifted-and former Ankara correspondent Erdem Gül face a separate trial in connection with that report. CPJ in November 2016 honored Dündar with its International Press Freedom Award.

Cumhuriyet, citing the court order, also reported that authorities accused the newspaper of being sympathetic to the Gülenist network because the newspaper referred to the group as the "Hizmet movement," as its adherents do, rather than using the government's name, FETÖ. Authorities argued that Cumhuriyet, Turkey's oldest newspaper, had changed its editorial policy, and that it was being manipulated by FETÖ and the PKK, Cumhuriyet reported.

As of late 2016, Çelik was jailed at Silivri Prison in Istanbul, pending trial, the date of which had not been set, according to press reports.

Turhan Günay, Cumhuriyet

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
October 31, 2016

Police detained Turhan Günay, the editor of the embattled opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet's literary supplement, in a raid of the newspaper's main office in Istanbul on October 31, 2016, alongside at least 11 other staff members and board members of the foundation that publishes it.

The Chief Prosecutor's Office of Istanbul released an official statement soon after the raid, saying the journalists were detained on suspicion of producing propaganda for the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and what the government calls the Fethullah Gülen Terror Organization (FETÖ), two rival groups the Turkish government classes as terrorist organizations. The statement said investigators were looking into alleged irregularities in the last elections of the board of directors of the foundation that owns Cumhuriyet, and that the newspaper published pro-coup propaganda in advance of a July 2016 failed coup attempt.

Istanbul's Ninth Court of Penal Peace on November 6, 2016, jailed Günay and eight other Cumhuriyet journalists and directors, pending trial on accusations of "acting on behalf of an armed terrorist organization while not being a member." Because an October 30, 2016, court order has made the investigation into the newspaper, its staff, and employees secret, defense lawyers and the public have limited access to the state's evidence.

Cumhuriyet reportedthat the court's order to jail Günay and his colleagues pending trial cited several of the newspaper's news stories and headlines that authorities claimed were propaganda for FETÖ and the PKK.

Among the reports that interrogators raised was a 2015 article alleging that Turkey's intelligence service was smuggling weapons to Islamist groups in Syria under cover of humanitarian aid, according to Cumhuriyet. Can Dündar-who resigned as the newspaper's editor in August 2016 and announced he would not return to Turkey until the state of emergency imposed after the July 2016 failed coup attempt was lifted-and former Ankara correspondent Erdem Gül face a separate trial in connection with that report. CPJ in November 2016 honored Dündar with its International Press Freedom Award.

Cumhuriyet also reported that authorities accused the newspaper of being sympathetic to the Gülenist network because the newspaper referred to the group as the "Hizmet movement," as its adherents do, rather than using the government's name, FETÖ, citing the court order. Authorities argued that Cumhuriyet, Turkey's oldest newspaper, had changed its editorial policy, and that it was being manipulated by FETÖ and the PKK, Cumhuriyet reported.

As of late 2016, Günay was jailed at Silivri Prison in Istanbul, pending trial, the date of which had not been set, according to press reports.

Akın Atalay, Cumhuriyet

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
November 11, 2016

Police detained Akın Atalay, chief executive officer of the embattled pro-opposition daily Cumhuriyet, as he disembarked from a flight from Berlin at Istanbul's Atatürk Airport on November 11, 2016, according to press reports. He was among the editors, staff, and board members whose arrest police sought in an October 31, 2016, raid on Cumhuriyet's headquarters in Istanbul, but was abroad at the time of the raid. Istanbul's Ninth Court of Penal Peace on November 12, 2016, ordered Atalay jailed pending trial on terrorism charges, according to Cumhuriyet.

The Chief Prosecutor's Office of Istanbul released an official statement soon after the October 31, 2016, raid, saying the journalists were detained on suspicion of producing propaganda for the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and what the government calls the Fethullah Gülen Terror Organization (FETÖ), two rival groups the Turkish government classes as terrorist organizations. The statement said investigators were looking into alleged irregularities in the last elections of the board of directors of the foundation that owns Cumhuriyet, and that the newspaper published pro-coup propaganda in advance of a July 2016 failed coup attempt.

Atalay faces accusations of "acting on behalf of an armed terrorist organization while not being a member." Because an October 30, 2016, court order has made the investigation into the newspaper, its staff, and employees secret, defense lawyers and the public have limited access to the state's evidence.

According to Cumhuriyet reports, the court's order to jail Atalay and the other Cumhuriyet journalists and directors cited news stories and headlines that authorities claimed were propaganda for FETÖ and the PKK.

According to court records, interrogators asked the detained Cumhuriyet directors and journalists about the newspaper's coverage. Among the reports that interrogators raised was a 2015 article alleging that Turkey's intelligence service was smuggling weapons to Islamist groups in Syria under cover of humanitarian aid, according to Cumhuriyet. Can Dündar-who resigned as the newspaper's editor in August 2016 and announced he would not return to Turkey until the state of emergency imposed after the July 2016 failed coup attempt was lifted-and former Ankara correspondent Erdem Gül face a separate trial in connection with that report. CPJ in November 2016 honored Dündar with its International Press Freedom Award.

Cumhuriyetalso reported,citing the court document, that authorities accused the newspaper of being sympathetic to the Gülenist network because the newspaper referred to the group as the "Hizmet movement," as its adherents do, rather than using the government's name, FETÖ. Authorities argued that Cumhuriyet, Turkey's oldest newspaper, had changed its editorial policy, and that it was being manipulated by FETÖ and the PKK, Cumhuriyet reported.

Atalay is jailed in Istanbul's Silivri Prison, pending trial, according to press reports. As of late 2016, he had not been indicted and no date had been set for his trial.

Mehmet Kuru, Zaman

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
August 6, 2016

Police in the central Turkish province of Eskişehir detained Mehmet Kuru, a former reporter for the shuttered daily newspaper Zaman, on August 6, 2016, as part of a sweeping purge of suspected followers of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen. The government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (or FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey that it blames for orchestrating a failed military coup on July 15, 2016, according to press reports.

The reports did not specify what charges Kuru faces, but a court in March 2016 ordered Zaman's parent company put under trustees selected by the government, saying the company and the newspaper had ties to the Gülenist network. CPJ research shows that authorities have targeted dozens of former Zaman journalists with arrest and prosecution on terrorism charges since the failed July 2016 coup based on their past affiliation with the newspaper. The government used emergency powers it assumed after that coup attempt to order the newspaper closed by decree on July 27, 2016, CPJ reported at the time.

Mustafa Gök, Ekmek ve Adalet

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
February 19, 2004

A local court sentenced Gök, Ankara correspondent for the leftist magazine Ekmek ve Adalet (Bread and Justice), 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.

He was being kept at the Ankara F Type High Security Closed Prison No. 1, according to a list of imprisoned journalists provided by the Turkish Justice Ministry in November 2013 at CPJ's request.

Karatana told CPJ that the evidence against the journalist consisted of his news coverage and attendance at political demonstrations. She said 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 the Justice Ministry's updated list. The life sentence was withdrawn in 2002 when Gök was released on parole for health reasons, Karatana told CPJ. When Gök was rearrested in 2004 on the DHKP/C membership charges, the life term was reinstated, she said. She said their appeal against the reinstated life term was rejected.

Vedat Demir, Yarına Bakış

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 24, 2016

Police in Istanbul detained Vedat Demir, a media professor and a former columnist for the shuttered daily Yarına Bakış, on July 24, 2016, as part of a sweeping purge of journalists and others suspected of following exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, according to the Internet newspaper Sol. The government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (or FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey that it blames for orchestrating a failed July 15, 2016, military coup.

Istanbul's 10th Court of Penal Peace on August 3, 2016, arraigned the journalist on charges of "being a member of an armed terrorist organization," according to the daily newspaper Habertürk.

Yarına Bakış was one of more than 100 newspapers, broadcasters, news agencies, and magazines the government closed by emergency decree on July 27, 2016, saying they were FETÖ/PDY mouthpieces. Dozens of journalists who worked at the shuttered media outlets have since been jailed on terrorism charges based on their past employment, CPJ research shows.

As of late 2016, CPJ had been unable to reach the journalist's lawyer. Press reports did not indicate where he was jailed, or whether a date had been set for his trial.

Cihat Ünal, Zaman, Cihan News Agency

Medium:
Internet, Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 25, 2016

Counterterrorism police in the southern province of Antalya on July 25, 2016, detained Ünal, a former reporter for the shuttered daily Zaman and Cihan News Agency, as part of a sweeping purge of journalists and others suspected of following exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, according to press reports. The government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (or FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey that it blames for orchestrating a failed July 15, 2016, military coup.

On July 27, 2016, a criminal court in Antalya ordered Ünal and eight other journalists also detained in Antalya two days prior jailed pending trial on charges they are FETÖ/PDY propagandists, according to press reports. The reports gave no further details.

Zaman and the Cihan News Agency were among the more than 100 newspapers, broadcasters, news agencies, and magazines the Turkish government ordered closed by decree on July 27, 2016, using emergency powers it assumed after the attempted coup, saying the media outlets were FETÖ/PDY mouthpieces, according to Turkey's Official Gazette. Since then, CPJ research shows that Turkish authorities have jailed dozens of Zaman and Cihan News Agency journalists pending trial on terrorism-related offenses.

CPJ tried to contact defense lawyers for the nine journalists. Those lawyers that CPJ was able to reach declined to provide the organization with further information or documentation.

Ömer Özdemir, Zaman

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 25, 2016

Counterterrorism police in the southern province of Antalya on July 25, 2016, detained Ömer Özdemir, a former reporter for the shuttered daily Zaman, as part of a sweeping purge of journalists and others suspected of following exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, according to press reports. The government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (or FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey that it blames for orchestrating a failed July 15, 2016, military coup.

On July 27, 2016, a criminal court in Antalya ordered Özdemir and eight other journalists also detained in Antalya two days prior jailed, pending trial on charges they are FETÖ/PDY propagandists, according to press reports. The reports gave no further details.

Zaman was among the more than 100 newspapers, broadcasters, news agencies, and magazines the Turkish government ordered closed by decree on July 27, 2016, using emergency powers it assumed after the attempted coup, saying the media outlets were FETÖ/PDY mouthpieces, according to Turkey's Official Gazette. Since then, CPJ research shows that Turkish authorities have jailed dozens of Zaman journalists pending trial on terrorism-related offenses.

CPJ tried to contact defense lawyers for the nine journalists. Those lawyers that CPJ was able to reach declined to provide the organization with further information or documentation.

Ayşe Nazlı Ilıcak, Özgür Düşünce, Can Erzincan TV

Medium:
Print, Television
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 26, 2016

Police in the coastal town of Bodrum detained Ayşe Nazlı Ilıcak-a former commentator for the pro-opposition daily newspaper Özgür Düşünce and Can Erzincan TV who is better known by her pen name, Nazlı Ilıcak-on July 26, 2016, and transferred her to Istanbul for questioning as part of a sweeping purge of journalists and others suspected of following exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, according to press reports. The government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (or FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey that it blames for orchestrating a failed military coup on July 15, 2016.

Özgür Düşünce and Can Erzincan TV were among the more than 100 newspapers, broadcasters, news agencies, and magazines the Turkish government ordered closed by decree on July 27, 2016, using emergency powers it assumed after the attempted coup, saying the media outlets were FETÖ/PDY mouthpieces, according to Turkey's Official Gazette.

Istanbul's Fifth Court of Penal Peace on July 30, 2016, arraigned Ilıcak and 16 other journalists, ordering them jailed pending trial on charges of "being members of an armed terrorist organization," according to the media monitoring group P24. The daily newspaper Hürriyet reported that the 17 journalists were questioned by prosecutors on accusations of "being members of an armed terrorist organization," "founding or leading an armed terrorist organization," "knowingly and willingly helping [a terrorist] organization without being involved in the organization's hierarchical structure," and "committing crimes in the name of a [terrorist] organization without being a member."

Ilıcak is at Bakırköy Women's Prison in Istanbul, pending trial, according to press reports. CPJ was unable to gain access to court documents or other official sources by late year.

Fevzi Yazıcı, Zaman

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 30-August 4, 2016

Turkish authorities issued a warrant for the detention of Fevzi Yazıcı, the 44-year-old layout editor of the shuttered newspaper Zaman, on July 27, 2016. Court records reviewed by CPJ do not mention the date police detained him, but Yazıcı sent an email to a professional contact on July 30, 2016, suggesting he was still free at some point on that date.

Istanbul's Third Court of Penal Peace on August 4, 2016, ordered Yazıcı jailed, pending trial on charges of being a follower of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, whom the Turkish government accuses of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (FETÖ/PDY, by its Turkish acronym) and of masterminding a July 15, 2016, failed military coup.

According to court records seen by CPJ, Yazıcı told the court that he started his career at the weekly Aksiyon, and later joined the daily Zaman as its chief page designer. The government ordered both publications closed by decree using emergency powers it assumed after the failed military coup, asserting they had links to FETÖ/PDY. The court concluded that there was a strong suspicion that Yazıcı was a member of FETÖ/PDY because he worked in media outlets that were "within the structure of FETÖ/PDY's media arm."

Yazıcı, under questioning, told the court that he did not know who owned Aksiyon. He said that he did not know whether Zaman had ever criticized Gülen-whom he admitted having met at one of the preacher's sermons in the United States, where he is exiled-and that he was responsible only for laying out the newspaper's pages.

The court ordered the designer jailed in Istanbul's Silivri prison. As of late 2016, Yazıcı had not been indicted, and no date had been set for his trial.

Mehmet Özdemir, Zaman, Yeni Hayat

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
Ambiguous July 27, 2017 - August 4, 2016

Turkish authorities issued a warrant for the detention of Mehmet Özdemir, the 41-year-old managing editor of Yeni Hayat, on July 27, 2016, as part of a sweeping purge of suspected followers of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen. The Turkish government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (FETÖ/PDY, by its Turkish acronym) and of masterminding a July 15, 2016, failed military coup.

CPJ was not able to verify the date police took him into custody. But on July 27, the journalist wrote on Twitter that he was about to turn himself in to police. Court records show that on August 4, 2016, Istanbul's Third Court of Penal Peace ordered him jailed pending trial on charges of being a member of a terrorist organization, based on the "strong suspicion" that he was a member of FETÖ/PDY because the newspapers he worked for were "within the structure of FETÖ/PDY's media arm."

Asked about his work for newspapers the government accuses of being affiliated with the Gülenist network, Özdemir told the court that he started his career as a journalist as a local reporter for the daily newspaper Zaman, eventually rising to become the newspaper's news editor, until a court ordered government-appointed trustees to take over the paper in March 2016, saying it had ties to the Gülenist network. The new trustees fired him soon after, he told the court. Özdemir told the court he also worked for Aksiyon magazine, which like Zaman was shuttered by government decree after the attempted coup.

According to the order to jail him pending trial, Özdemir told the court that he and other former Zaman journalists started to publish a new newspaper, Yeni Hayat, but the daily newspaper closed after the failed coup attempt because printing houses refused to work with it. He was the managing editor of Yeni Hayat during its brief lifespan.

From these statements, the court concluded that there was "a strong suspicion" that he was a member of a terrorist organization, and ordered him jailed in Istanbul's Silivri prison, pending trial.

As of late 2016, he had not been indicted, and no date had been set for his trial.

Ayşenur Parıldak, Zaman

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
August 3-6, 2016

Ankara's First Court of Penal Peace on August 11, 2016, ordered Ayşenur Parıldak, a former court reporter in Ankara for the shuttered daily newspaper Zaman, jailed pending trial, according to the pro-government daily newspaper Sabah, citing the state-run Anadolu Agency (AA).

News reports did not specify the charges the journalist faces, but a court ordered Zaman's parent company put under the trusteeship of figures selected by the government in March 2016 on the grounds that it was linked to followers of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen. The government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and parallel state structure within Turkey that it subsequently blamed for orchestrating a failed military coup attempt on July 15, 2016. The government used emergency powers it assumed after that coup attempt to order Zaman closed by government decree, and CPJ research shows that police have charged other Zaman journalists with terrorism-related offenses because of their work for the newspaper, which the government considered a mouthpiece for the Gülenist network.

News reports also differed as to the date police detained the journalist. The pro-government news website En Son Haber reported that police detained Parıldak on August 6, 2016. The pro-opposition daily newspaper Cumhuriyet reported that police detained her on August 3.

In a letter she sent to Cumhuriyet from prison, which the newspaper published on October 4, 2016, Parıldak said she had been unemployed since government-appointed trustees took control of Zaman and that police interrogated her about her former employment at the newspaper and about her activity on Twitter. Parıldak in her letter to Cumhuriyet also said that police had told her that an informant had told them that she was planning to escape the country.

In her letter to Cumhuriyet, Parıldak alleged that jailors beat and sexually harassed her and other female inmates in custody. "I was questioned for eight days, day and night. They [the police] were drunk as they were questioning me, and they were not afraid to say so openly. Then, the court [hearing took place], and here I am," she wrote.

In her letter, Parıldak also said she had spent 20 days sharing a cell with other prisoners, before she was moved to a smaller cell. "It means solitary confinement," she wrote. "I fear I will be forgotten here."

According to an October 6, 2016, En Son Haber report, the Justice Ministry denied the journalist's claims. En Son Haber reported that Parıldak was being held at Ankara Women's Prison. The ministry told En Son Haber that the journalist is in a cell with two other inmates, and that she had not been beaten or harassed.

The daily newspaper Yeni Safak on December 1, 2016, reported that prosecutors had asked Ankara's 14th Court for Serious Crimes to indict the journalist on the charge of "being member of a [terrorist] organization."

Abdullah Özyurt, Zaman

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 17-25, 2016

A court in the southern province of Adana on July 25, 2016, ordered Abdullah Özyurt, a reporter for the shuttered daily newspaper Zaman, jailed pending trial as part of a sweeping purge of journalists and others suspected of following exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, the daily newspaper Evrensel reported, citing the Doğan News Agency. The government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (or FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey that it blames for orchestrating a failed military coup on July 15, 2016. The Evrensel report did not specify when police detained the journalist.

Zaman was among the more than 100 newspapers, broadcasters, news agencies, and magazines the Turkish government ordered closed by decree on July 27, 2016, using emergency powers it assumed after the attempted coup, saying the media outlets were FETÖ/PDY mouthpieces, according to Turkey's Official Gazette.

CPJ research shows that Turkish authorities have persistently targeted Zaman journalists with prosecutions and arrest on allegations of terrorism.

As of late 2016, Özyurt was jailed in Hatay Prison, a family member told CPJ, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.

İbrahim Karayeğen, Zaman, Yeni Hayat

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 24, 2016 - September 26, 2016

Police at Istanbul Atatürk Airport detained Karayeğen, a former news editor for the shuttered daily newspapers Zaman and Yeni Hayat, the pro-government daily newspaper Sabah reported on September 26, 2016, and a court subsequently ordered him jailed pending trial on suspicion that he was a follower of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen. The government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (or FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey that it blames for orchestrating a failed July 15, 2016, military coup.

Sabah reported that interrogators asked the journalist about his work for the two newspapers, but did not specify the date of his detention or arraignment.

Zaman was among the more than 100 newspapers, broadcasters, news agencies, and magazines the Turkish government ordered closed by decree on July 27, 2016, using emergency powers it assumed after the attempted coup, saying the media outlets were FETÖ/PDY mouthpieces, according to Turkey's Official Gazette. Since then, CPJ research shows that Turkish authorities have jailed dozens of Zaman journalists pending trial on terrorism-related offenses.

In March 2016 a court ordered Zaman's parent company, the Feza Media Group, put under trustees selected by the government, saying the company and the newspaper had ties to the Gülenist network. After the government-appointed trustees took control of Zaman and the newspaper's editorial line changed accordingly, a group of Zaman journalists founded the newspaper Yeni Hayat, which stopped publishing after the failed July 2016 coup attempt.

The Committee to Protect Journalists contacted Karayeğen's colleagues, and was unable to find any further information about his case, or to contact his defense lawyers for documentation.

Ali Akkuş, Zaman

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 24-29, 2016

Police in Istanbul detained Ali Akkuş, a former editor for the shuttered newspaper Zaman, as part of a sweeping purge of journalists and others suspected of following exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, according to press press reports. The government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (or FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey that it blames for orchestrating a failed July 15, 2016, military coup.

The Committee to Protect Journalists could not find a published report indicating when police detained Akkuş. The state-run Anadolu News Agency on July 25, 2016, reported that authorities had issued a warrant for his arrest. Istanbul's Fifth Court of Penal Peace late on July 29, 2016, arraigned Akkuş and 16 other journalists, ordering them jailed pending trial on charges of "being members of an armed terrorist organization," according to the media monitoring group P24. The daily newspaper Hürriyet reported that the 17 journalists were questioned by prosecutors on accusations of "being members of an armed terrorist organization," "founding or leading an armed terrorist organization," "knowingly and willingly helping [a terrorist] organization without being involved in the organization's hierarchical structure," and "committing crimes in the name of a [terrorist] organization without being a member."

In March 2016 a court ordered Zaman's parent company, the Feza Media Group, put under the trusteeship of figures selected by the government, saying the company and the newspaper had ties to the Gülenist network. On July 27, 2016, the government used emergency powers it assumed after the July 2016 failed coup attempt to close the magazine, saying it was a FETÖ/PDY mouthpiece.

CPJ research shows that authorities have targeted dozens of former journalists from media outlets owned by the Feza Media Group with arrest and prosecution on terrorism charges since the failed July 2016 coup attempt.

News reports did not specify where the journalists were being held, and CPJ was unable to reach the journalists' lawyers. Dozens of other journalists jailed pending trial on similar accusations are being held in Istanbul's Silivri Prison.

Mustafa Erkan Acar, Cihan News Agency

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 24-29, 2016

Police in Istanbul detained Mustafa Erkan Acar, a former editor for the shuttered newspaper Zaman, as part of a sweeping purge of journalists and others suspected of following exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, according to press reports. The government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (or FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey that it blames for orchestrating a failed July 15, 2016, military coup.

The Committee to Protect Journalists could not find a published report indicating when police detained Akkuş. The state-run Anadolu News Agency on July 25, 2016, reported that authorities had issued a warrant for his arrest. Istanbul's Fifth Court of Penal Peace late on July 29, 2016, arraigned Acar and 16 other journalists, ordering them jailed pending trial on charges of "being members of an armed terrorist organization," according to the media monitoring group P24. The daily newspaper Hürriyet reported that the 17 journalists were questioned by prosecutors on accusations of "being members of an armed terrorist organization," "founding or leading an armed terrorist organization," "knowingly and willingly helping [a terrorist] organization without being involved in the organization's hierarchical structure," and "committing crimes in the name of a [terrorist] organization without being a member."

In March 2016 a court ordered Zaman's parent company, the Feza Media Group, put under the trusteeship of figures selected by the government, saying the company and the newspaper had ties to the Gülenist network. On July 27, 2016, the government used emergency powers it assumed after the July 2016 failed coup attempt to close the magazine, saying it was a FETÖ/PDY mouthpiece.

CPJ research shows that authorities have targeted dozens of former journalists from media outlets owned by the Feza Media Group with arrest and prosecution on terrorism charges since the failed July 2016 coup attempt.

News reports did not specify where the journalists were being held, and CPJ was unable to reach the journalists' lawyers. Dozens of other journalists jailed pending trial on similar accusations are being held in Istanbul's Silivri Prison.

Yakup Çetin, Zaman

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 24-29, 2016

Police in Istanbul detained Çetin, a former court reporter for the shuttered daily Zaman, as part of a sweeping purge of journalists and others suspected of following exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, according to press reports. The government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (or FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey that it blames for orchestrating a failed July 15, 2016, military coup.

The Committee to Protect Journalists could not find a published report indicating when police detained Çetin. The state-run Anadolu News Agency on July 25, 2016, reported that authorities had issued a warrant for his arrest. Istanbul's Fifth Court of Penal Peace late on July 29, 2016, arraigned Çetin and 16 other journalists, ordering them jailed pending trial on charges of "being members of an armed terrorist organization," according to the media monitoring group P24. The daily newspaper Hürriyet reported that the 17 journalists were questioned by prosecutors on accusations of "being members of an armed terrorist organization," "founding or leading an armed terrorist organization," "knowingly and willingly helping [a terrorist] organization without being involved in the organization's hierarchical structure," and "committing crimes in the name of a [terrorist] organization without being a member."

In March 2016 a court ordered Zaman's parent company, the Feza Media Group, put under the trusteeship of figures selected by the government, saying the company and the newspaper had ties to the Gülenist network. On July 27, 2016, the government used emergency powers it assumed after the July 2016 failed coup attempt to close the magazine, saying it was a FETÖ/PDY mouthpiece.

CPJ research shows that authorities have targeted dozens of former journalists from media outlets owned by the Feza Media Group with arrest and prosecution on terrorism charges since the failed July 2016 coup attempt.

News reports did not specify where the journalists were being held, and CPJ was unable to reach the journalists' lawyers. Dozens of other journalists jailed pending trial on similar accusations are being held in Istanbul's Silivri Prison.

Vedat Beki, Sözcü 18

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
November 29, 2016

Police in the Mediterranean town of Marmaris on November 29, 2016, detained Vedat Beki-editor of the news website Sözcü 18, which focuses on regional news from Turkey's northern Çankırı Province-as part of a sweeping purge of suspected followers of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, according to press reports. The Turkish government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey that it alleges masterminded a failed July 15, 2016, military coup. Prosecutors in Çankırı Province had sought the editor's arrest for nine months, the pro-opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet reported.

Beki has a history of criticizing both the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Gülenist network, which maintained a tactical alliance against the security services' involvement in politics until 2013.

In a 2012 editorial for Sözcü 18, Beki wrote about his detention for alleging that AKP officials in Çankırı had engaged in corrupt practices. In 2014, he described as weak the AKP's candidates for the 2015 elections-in which the AKP failed to secure a majority for the first time since it came to power in 2002-and criticized legislation making it easier to censor websites. In his last editorial for Sözcü 18, published July 27, 2016, Beki blamed the July 15 attempted coup on "FETÖ," using the government's preferred nomenclature, and the United States, as many pro-government journalists did, but also on a group within the "deep state" and disaffected members of the AKP itself.

Beki was brought to the Marmaris Police Anti-Organized Crime Directorate and was awaiting transfer to Çankırı Province to face charges there as of late 2016. No specific charges against Beki had been disclosed as of December 1, 2016, but Cumhuriyet reported that his arrest was linked to FETÖ/PDY investigation, under which dozens of other journalists face charges of "membership in a [terrorist] organization," "propagandizing for a [terrorist] organization," or aiding a terrorist organization without being a member.

Aysel Işık, Jin News Agency (JİNHA)

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-state
Imprisoned:
November 21, 2016

Police in the southeastern Turkish town of Şırnak on November 21, 2016, detained Aysel Işık, a reporter for the pro-Kurdish Jin News Agency (JİNHA), which is staffed entirely by women, her employer reported. The same day a court ordered her held pending trial on charges of "propagandizing for a [terrorist] organization"-the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which the Turkish government classes as a terrorist organization-in her posts to social media websites, JİNHA reported on its website.

Turkish authorities have long pursued JİNHA journalists for their reporting, and on October 31, 2016, ordered the news agency closed by decree, using emergency powers the government granted itself after a July 2016 failed military coup. The news agency's website was still operational in late 2016.

Işık was in Şırnak's Yeni Mahalle neighborhood when she was detained, according to JİNHA's website. She was taken to the Şırnak police station. CPJ was unable to determine her location or identify her legal representation as of late 2016.

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Turkmenistan: 1

Saparmamed Nepeskuliyev, Freelance

Medium:
Internet, Radio
Charge:
Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
July 7, 2015

Nepeskuliyev, a contributor to the independent news website Alternative Turkmenistan News (ATN) and the Turkmen service of the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), was jailed on July 7, 2015, according to ATN.

The journalist's family filed a police report when Nepeskuliyev stopped responding to phone calls and failed to return home from a reporting trip to the western city of Awaza on the Caspian Sea on July 7, Ruslan Myatiyev, the director of ATN, told CPJ.

Nepeskuliyev had reported on water shortages and the poor social and economic conditions in Turkmenistan and photographed expensive villas said to belong to state officials, according to Myatiyev and a statement by the New York-based group Human Rights Watch.

According to Myatiyev and news reports, when the family filed a police report, authorities told them Nepeskuliyev had been arrested. Myatiyev, citing the journalist's family, told CPJ that authorities accused Nepeskuliyev of possessing a banned medication. The charge carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years, according to CPJ's review of the Turkmen criminal code.

On August 31, 2015, authorities sentenced Nepeskuliyev to three years in prison for drug possession, according to ATN.

A week later, Nepeskuliyev's mother told RFE/RL's Turkmen service that authorities had denied her family access to information about the journalist's status and whereabouts, and barred her from visiting him because of security concerns over a visit to the region by President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov.

Human rights activists and journalists raised Nepeskuliyev's arrest during their address to the Turkmen delegation at a Warsaw conference on human rights and democracy in September 2015, held under the auspices of the Vienna-based Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, ATN reported. In his response, Vepa Khadzhiyev, Turkmenistan's deputy foreign minister, denied that Nepeskuliyev is a journalist.

The U.N. Human Rights Council's Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded in December 2015, after diplomatic discussions with the country, that Nepeskuliyev's detention was arbitrary and called on authorities to release him. On July 8, 2016, seven members of the U.S. Congress sent a letter to Berdymukhamedov calling the journalist's imprisonment "unlawful."

RFE/RL's Turkmen Service told CPJ on September 22, 2016 that the reporter has been held incommunicado in jail in the Balkan province, and that it has been unable to reach his family since September 2015.

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Uzbekistan: 5

Muhammad Bekjanov, Erk

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
March 15, 1999

Bekjanov, editor of the opposition newspaper Erk, and Ruzimuradov, a reporter for the paper, are the longest-imprisoned journalists worldwide, CPJ research shows. Both journalists were jailed on politicized anti-state charges after they were forcibly returned to the country from Ukraine in 1999.

In September 1999, a Tashkent court convicted the two of publishing and distributing a banned newspaper. Both were also convicted of participating in a banned political protest and attempting to overthrow the regime. Bekjanov was sentenced to 14 years in prison and Ruzimuradov was sentenced to 15 years.

The journalists were beaten before their trial began, according to CPJ sources and news reports. After the verdict was announced in November 1999, Bekjanov and Ruzimuradov were jailed in penal colonies for individuals convicted of serious crimes.

In January 2012, shortly before Bekjanov was scheduled to be released, authorities sentenced him to an additional five years in prison, citing the violation of unspecified prison rules, regional press reports said. Bekjanov was being held in a prison near the city of Zarafshan in the southwestern Navoi region.

In a September 2014 report on political prisoners in Uzbekistan, the international organization Human Rights Watch said Ruzimuradov was being held in Tavaksay prison colony outside Tashkent. Human Rights Watch said that Ruzimuradov was due to be released in May 2014, but that authorities extended his sentence for an undisclosed period because of unspecified violations of prison rules.

According to a petition published on the online platform Avaaz in December 2014, and to an interview that Dilorom Iskhakova, a member of the opposition party Erk, gave to RFE/RL's Uzbek Service, authorities sentenced Ruzimuradov to an additional three years. Iskhakova said Ruzimuradov's health had deteriorated and he had acute tuberculosis and hypertension.

Bekjanov and Ruzimuradov were detained in Ukraine, where they had been publishing Erk, the official newspaper of the opposition political party by the same name, in exile. They were extradited at the request of Uzbek authorities. Bekjanov's brother is Muhammad Salih, the leader of the political party Erk (Liberty) and a 1991 presidential candidate in Uzbekistan. Salih, who has lived in exile since 1993, was sentenced in absentia to prison on anti-state charges in 1999.

In 2014, Human Rights Watch issued a report on Uzbekistan in which it cited the first public testimony of Bekjanov's family, who said the journalists had been kidnapped in Ukraine.

Nina Bekjanova, the editor's wife, told reporters that she found his health had deteriorated when she visited him in prison in March 2013. Bekjanova said her husband needed treatment for a hernia and a relapse of tuberculosis, according to Radio Ozodlik, the Uzbek service of the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. She said the editor had not complained about his health to her during previous visits, but that during this visit he had said, "There's not much longer left [for me] to suffer."

Bekjanova told Uznews that authorities did not obstruct her October 2014 visit to the prison as they had in the past. She said prison authorities had stopped her husband from performing labor at the prison's brick-making facility due to his age. He turned 62 in October 2016.

In July 2016, Vasila Inoyatova and Abdurahman Tashanov, of the Uzbek human rights group Ezgulik (Kindness), visited Bekjanov in prison and posted a statement from him online in which he expressed hope to see his daughters and asked them to write more often, saying he receives only one or two letters a year. Aygul Bekjan reacted to her father's photo on Facebook by saying "This is what my father looks like now. I didn't even recognize him!" The rights group said he was in good health.

Yusuf Ruzimuradov, Erk

Medium:
Print
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
March 15, 1999

Ruzimuradov, a reporter for the opposition newspaper Erk, and Bekjanov, its editor, are the longest-imprisoned journalists worldwide, CPJ research shows. Both journalists were jailed on politicized anti-state charges after they were forcibly returned to the country from Ukraine in 1999.

In September 1999, a Tashkent court convicted the two of publishing and distributing a banned newspaper. Both were also convicted of participating in a banned political protest and attempting to overthrow the regime. Bekjanov was sentenced to 14 years in prison and Ruzimuradov was sentenced to 15 years.

The journalists were beaten before their trial began, according to CPJ sources and news reports. After the verdict was announced in November 1999, Bekjanov and Ruzimuradov were jailed in penal colonies for individuals convicted of serious crimes.

In January 2012, shortly before Bekjanov was scheduled to be released, authorities sentenced him to an additional five years in prison, citing the violation of unspecified prison rules, regional press reports said. Bekjanov was being held in a prison near the city of Zarafshan in the southwestern Navoi region.

In a September 2014 report on political prisoners in Uzbekistan, the international organization Human Rights Watch said Ruzimuradov was being held in Tavaksay prison colony outside Tashkent. Human Rights Watch said that Ruzimuradov was due to be released in May 2014, but that authorities extended his sentence for an undisclosed period because of unspecified violations of prison rules.

According to a petition published on the online platform Avaaz in December 2014, and to an interview that Dilorom Iskhakova, a member of the opposition party Erk, gave to RFE/RL's Uzbek Service, authorities sentenced Ruzimuradov to an additional three years. Iskhakova said Ruzimuradov's health had deteriorated and he had acute tuberculosis and hypertension.

Bekjanov and Ruzimuradov were detained in Ukraine, where they had been publishing Erk, the official newspaper of the opposition political party by the same name, in exile. They were extradited at the request of Uzbek authorities. Bekjanov's brother is Muhammad Salih, the leader of the political party Erk (Liberty) and a 1991 presidential candidate in Uzbekistan. Salih, who has lived in exile since 1993, was sentenced in absentia to prison on anti-state charges in 1999.

Nina Bekjanova, the editor's wife, told reporters that she found his health had deteriorated when she visited him in prison in March 2013. Bekjanova said her husband needed treatment for a hernia and a relapse of tuberculosis, according to Radio Ozodlik, the Uzbek service of the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. She said the editor had not complained about his health to her during previous visits, but that during this visit he had said, "There's not much longer left [for me] to suffer."

Bekjanova told Uznews that authorities did not obstruct her October 2014 visit to the prison as they had in the past. She said prison authorities had stopped her husband from performing labor at the prison's brick-making facility due to his age. He turned 62 in October 2016.

In July 2016, Vasila Inoyatova and Abdurahman Tashanov, of the Uzbek human rights group Ezgulik (Kindness), visited Bekjanov in prison and posted a statement from him online in which he expressed hope to see his daughters and asked them to write more often, saying he receives only one or two letters a year. Aygul Bekjan reacted to her father's photo on Facebook by saying "This is what my father looks like now. I didn't even recognize him!"

CPJ could not determine the state of health of Ruzimuradov in late 2016.

Salidzhon Abdurakhmanov, Uznews

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
June 7, 2008

Abdurakhmanov, a reporter for the now defunct independent news website Uznews, was imprisoned in June 2008 after traffic police in Nukus, in Uzbekistan's Karakalpakstan Autonomous Republic, said they found 114 grams of marijuana and less than five grams of opium during a search of his car, Uznews reported at the time. The journalist denied possessing narcotics and said the police had planted them in retaliation for his reporting on corruption, according to news reports.

Abdurakhmanov had reported on corruption in regional law enforcement agencies, including the traffic police, for Uznews. The website closed in December 2014. Abdurakhmanov also contributed to the U.S. government-funded broadcasters Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Voice of America, and the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting.

Abdurakhmanov's prosecution and trial were marred by irregularities, defense lawyer Rustam Tulyaganov told CPJ at the time. Investigators failed to maintain chain of custody for the seized drugs, and they did not collect fingerprints or other evidence that could have proved the journalist had handled the material, Tulyaganov said.

Police questioned Abdurakhmanov extensively, focusing on his journalism, and searched his home and confiscated his computer, according to his lawyer and news reports.

According to Uznews, authorities offered Abdurakhmanov a deal: give up journalism and human rights activism in exchange for amnesty and release. The journalist refused.

In October 2008, a court in Nukus sentenced Abdurakhmanov to 10 years in prison. Higher courts denied his appeals.

In September 2011, authorities denied Abdurakhmanov's application for amnesty, citing alleged violations of penal colony rules, according to CPJ research. Uznews reported in November 2012 that prison authorities obstructed the International Committee of the Red Cross when it tried to speak with Abdurakhmanov in prison. Abdurakhmanov's son told Uznews that prison officials presented Red Cross staff with another detainee who claimed to be the journalist.

At least three times in 2013, authorities transferred Abdurakhmanov from a penal colony in the southern city of Karshi to a prison hospital outside the capital, Tashkent, to receive treatment for a stomach ulcer. In October 2013, after the journalist's family told Uznews about his deteriorating health, authorities placed Abdurakhmanov in solitary confinement for two weeks and prevented his family from seeing him.

Based on findings by CPJ and other groups, lawyers with the Washington-based advocacy group Freedom Now filed a complaint in March 2012 with the U.N. Human Rights Committee, contesting Abdurakhmanov's imprisonment and calling for his release.

Abdurakhmanov was awarded the German Palm Foundation's press freedom award in 2014. According to news reports, Uzbek authorities barred the journalist's family from attending the ceremony in Schorndorf in November 2014 on his behalf. At the ceremony, the German Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, Christoph Strässer, publicly urged Uzbek authorities to release Abdurakhmanov.

In May 2014, Abdurakhmanov's family publicly asked Uzbek President Islam Karimov to pardon the journalist based on his deteriorating health, Uznews reported. They did not receive a response.

On October 14, 2016, the journalist's former employer Uznews, operating under the new name Centre1, reported that he "is gravely ill" and suffers from stomach and intestinal ulcers.

Dilmurod Saiid, Voice of Freedom

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
February 22, 2009

Saiid is serving a 12-and-a-half-year prison term at a high-security prison colony outside Navoi, where he was tortured through beatings and psychological pressure, according to news reports and his lawyer. In 2013, he was denied adequate medical treatment for tuberculosis that he contracted in jail, reports said. On October 14, 2016, the independent regional news website Centre1 (formerly Uznews) reported that the journalist suffers from acute tuberculosis and cited a letter Saiid sent from prison in 2013 in which he wrote that he did not expect to survive the prison term.

The journalist was arrested in his hometown, Tashkent, and placed in detention in Samarkand after a woman accused him of extorting US$10,000 from a businessman. Although the woman withdrew her accusation, saying she had been coerced, authorities refused to release the journalist, Saiid's lawyer, Ruhiddin Komilov, told CPJ at the time. In March 2009, regional authorities announced that new witnesses had come forward to accuse Saiid of extortion. Authorities said that several farmers had accused him of using their signatures to create fraudulent court papers.

Saiid was charged with extortion and forgery. CPJ, along with several other international human rights and press freedom groups, determined the charges were fabricated in retaliation for his journalism. Before his arrest, Saiid reported on official abuses against farmers for the independent regional news website Voice of Freedom as well as for a number of local publications.

At Saiid's trial, the farmers told the court they had been pressured by prosecutors to testify against Saiid, Ferghana News reported. Their statements were ignored in what was one of several irregularities reported during the proceedings. Komilov said that authorities failed to notify him of a number of important hearing dates. When a regional court convicted and sentenced Saiid in a closed-door hearing in July 2009, the journalist's lawyer and family were not present.

In November 2009, the journalist's wife and six-year-old daughter were killed in a car accident on their way to visit him in prison, regional press reports said. Authorities rejected Saiid's 2011 application for amnesty, citing alleged violations of penal colony rules, Uznews reported.

Based on findings by CPJ and other groups, lawyers with the Washington-based advocacy group Freedom Now filed a March 2012 complaint with the U.N. Human Rights Committee, contesting Saiid's imprisonment and calling for his release.

The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, after diplomatic communication between the Uzbek government and the U.N., concluded on November 23, 2012, that Saiid's detention was arbitrary and called for his retrial and reparations. It referred the case to the U.N. special rapporteur on torture.

In a handwritten note in January 2013 that he passed via his brother, during a prison visit, to a local rights activist, Saiid revealed details of his conditions in jail and pleaded for help. Saiid did not explicitly detail how he had suffered, but hinted that Uzbek and international laws against torture had been violated during his imprisonment.

On April 1, 2016, Freedom Now, a Washington D.C.-based non-profit that assists arbitrarily detained prisoners, wrote to the U.N. special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders to request that the office pressure the Uzbek government to unconditionally release the journalist and three other detainees.

Dzhamshid Karimov, Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
No charge
Imprisoned:
January 2012

Dzhamshid Karimov, a freelance journalist and nephew of the late President Islam Karimov, has been detained in a psychiatric facility since January 2012, according to regional news sites and his family.

Karimov, an outspoken critic of the Uzbek regime, was first placed unwillingly in a psychiatric ward in the city of Samarkand in September 2006. In November 2011, reports about his release appeared in regional media. On January 10, 2012, his friend and fellow journalist Ulugbek Khaydarov spoke with Karimov on the phone. According to reports citing Khaydarov, Karimov shared a plan to write a book about alleged corruption in the Uzbek government and the first family. The journalist told Khaydarov that he was being followed and had received death threats over the phone.

On November 18, 2016, Karimov's daughter, Yevgeniya, told the independent regional website AsiaTerra that the journalist was forcibly returned to a psychiatric ward in January 2012. "He was summoned to the security services' office where he was beaten up by four men and forced back into the facility. He was bruised, his teeth were shattered. There was no trial," she said. Yevgeniya Karimov added, "They told me he is there because he got in touch with his friends [journalists]."

She told AsiaTerra her father is kept with "other patients, including murderers" in a room with barred windows and is allowed only rare visits from family in the presence of either police or doctors. He cannot receive any news and has not been informed about the death of the president, she said.

Karimov did not appear on last year's prison census because CPJ was not aware he had been returned to custody.

Karimov contributed to the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting and worked for a number of independent newspapers and online publications, including the Almaty-based news website Liter and Moscow-based independent regional website Fergana. He criticized both local and national authorities in his coverage of Uzbek social and economic problems.

Karimov's earlier arrest was discovered by his friends a few days after he disappeared from his hometown of Jizzakh on September 12, 2006. The friends discovered he had been forcibly committed to a psychiatric hospital in Samarkand by Uzbek authorities. At the time, government officials refused to release any information on the court proceedings that led to his involuntary confinement. Initially, he was held without access to a lawyer, or visits from family and friends, the independent regional website Ferganareported at the time.

Local authorities closely monitored Karimov's journalism and police followed him prior to his confinement, according to his colleagues and friends. In August 2006, authorities seized Karimov's passport when he applied for an exit visa to attend a journalism seminar in Kyrgyzstan. CPJ and other rights groups repeatedly called on Uzbek authorities to release the journalist.

Aleksey Volosevich, a correspondent for AsiaTerra, told CPJ on November 18, 2016, that Kairmov's daughter said he has chronic ailments and that he is in grave condition.

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Venezuela: 1

Braulio Jatar Alonso, Reporte Confidencial

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
September 3, 2016

Officers of Venezuela's national intelligence agency, Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia Nacional (SEBIN), detained Jatar, who manages the website Reporte Confidencial, a day after he reported on an anti-government protest, according to news reports and to his wife, with whom CPJ spoke.

Jatar, who is also a prominent opposition supporter, was detained as he went to a local radio station in Porlamar, the largest city on the Venezuelan Caribbean island of Isla Margarita, on September 3, 2016, his sister told Reuters.

According to news reports, authorities claimed he was in possession of the equivalent of $43,000 in cash, which they claimed was to be used to fund a "terror attack" during the September 13, 2016, summit of the Non-Aligned Movement on the island.

The arrest came a day after Jatar published text and video accounts of residents of the Porlamar neighborhood of Villa Rossa welcoming Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro with jeers and by banging pots and pans. Maduro abruptly cancelled plans for a televised event inaugurating renovated apartment buildings in the neighborhood, according to news reports, and the incident made international news headlines.

Pedro Arévalo, a lawyer for the Venezuelan legal rights group Foro Penal, claimed that authorities planted the money on Jatar, and that the journalist was detained in reprisal for publishing the protest video on his website. "All he did was to publish some videos," Arévalo told the Caracas daily El Nacional.

Silvia Martínez Jatar, the journalist's wife, told CPJ that her husband was first taken to the SEBIN judicial police station on Isla Margarita. She said he was worried because he has chronic high blood pressure and he feared the government planned to jail him on false charges.

Jatar had his first court hearing on September 5, 2016, where he was told he faces charges of money laundering, his wife told CPJ. If convicted of money laundering, Jatar could face up to 15 years in prison, his wife said.

"There was no crime, and they did not present any evidence," Jatar's defense attorney, Diomedes Potentini, told reporters.

On September 10, 2016, Jatar was transferred to the July 26 Prison in San Juan de los Morros, in Guarico State. Prison authorities prevented Jatar from calling family as part of a 30-day "adaptation" period, his wife told CPJ. During that period, he suffered from anxiety attacks and high blood pressure, and spent six days in the prison clinic. He first saw his lawyer, Diomedes Potentini, on September 20, 2016, some 17 days after he was detained. They have met only twice, his wife said.

On September 26, 2016, Jatar was moved to the prison in the city of Cumana, near Margarita Island, where his period of "adaptation" started again, meaning he was again prevented from contacting his family. Jatar is not allowed access to mobile phones or the internet. Jatar's wife said she was pleading with prison authorities to let him have access to a cardiologist of his choosing.

Jatar, 58, is also a lawyer and a political activist. In the 1990s he worked as a legal adviser to the Venezuelan Congress. He faced charges of extortion in 1991 and fled to Miami, according to news reports, but was later exonerated.

In 2007 Jatar founded the news website Reporte Confidencial on Isla Margarita, where he lives. He also worked closely with the opposition mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma, who was under house arrest in late 2016, and has actively supported a recall referendum in which the opposition hopes to remove Maduro from office.

Jatar is a dual Venezuelan-Chilean citizen. The Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz said his government was "very concerned" about the case, according to news reports.

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Vietnam: 8

Tran Huynh Duy Thuc (Tran Dong Chan), Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
May 24, 2009

Thuc, a blogger who wrote under the name Tran Dong Chan (Change We Need), was first arrested on charges of "promoting anti-Socialist, anti-government propaganda," according to news reports. On January 20, 2010, he was sentenced by the People's Court of Ho Chi Minh City to 16 years in prison and five years' house arrest for "activities aimed at overthrowing the government" under article 79 of the penal code.

The court's indictment charged him with disseminating false information through a website and three blogs, according to news reports. He was convicted in part for writing a book called The Vietnam Path, along with two political activists, which the court ruled was part of a plan to create political parties and overthrow the government, according to news reports. Only the Communist Party of Vietnam is allowed to exist in the country.

Thuc maintained his innocence at the one-day trial and claimed he was tortured while in pretrial detention, without giving further details, according to Amnesty International.

His personal blog, Tran Dong Chan, focused on local issues of inequality, social ills, and risks of a possible socioeconomic crisis. He also wrote about sensitive foreign affairs including a March 2009 article called "Obama, China, and Vietnam," which analyzed the countries' divergent approaches to civil liberties, human rights, and economic development.

On May 11, 2012, an appellate court upheld Thuc's sentence in a closed trial, according to news reports. He was initially detained at southern Dong Nai province's Xuan Loc Z30A prison. Thuc was held in solitary confinement from August 2012 to March 2013, and denied access to books, newspapers, and writing materials, according to Radio Free Asia in 2013, which attributed the report to his father.

In August 2012, the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention adopted an opinion that Thuc's imprisonment was arbitrary and requested that the government remedy the situation in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. He was transferred to Ba Ria-Vung Tau province's Xuyen Moc prison after a riot among prisoners at Xuan Loc in August 2013.

In 2015, Thuc declined offers of early release made by government officials on the condition that he immediately go into exile in the U.S., according to Defend the Defenders, a human rights organization which cited his father as the source of the information.

In March 2016, Thuc and other prisoners staged a 13-day hunger strike to protest alleged misconduct by prison guards, including the frequent use of solitary confinement and restrictions on receiving written materials from their families, according to Alex Hoang, a family member who wrote about Thuc's situation in mid-year in a CPJ blog post.

In May 2016, Thuc was transferred from Xuan Loc prison camp to a detention facility about 930 miles (1,500 kilometers) away known as Camp No. 6 in central Nghe An province, a move his family members viewed as a retaliatory measure for his protest, Hoang wrote. Prison authorities did not give a reason for his move, which made it more difficult for his family to pay him regular prison visits, according to Hoang.

On May 24, marking his seventh year in prison, Thuc staged a 15-day hunger strike to call for a referendum on Vietnam's political system, a fast that made him too weak to stand during a family prison visit on June 1. In August, prison authorities cut the electricity in his cell during extreme summer season temperatures as punishment for his refusal to produce imitation money used during funeral ceremonies as a form of prison labor.

Dang Xuan Dieu, Vietnam Redemptorist News

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 30, 2011

Dieu, a religious activist and frequent contributor to the news website Vietnam Redemptorist News, was arrested at Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam Redemptorist News, which is run by the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, a Catholic church in Ho Chi Minh City, reports on the plight of the country's persecuted Catholic minority, land disputes between the government and grassroots communities, and other social issues.

Dieu was first detained on unspecified charges under article 79 of the penal code, which outlines penalties for activities aimed at overthrowing the government. He was also accused of being a member of the exile-run Viet Tan political party, an organization outlawed by the dominant Communist party.

In a two-day trial that concluded on January 9, 2013, a court in the northern city of Vinh convicted and sentenced the journalist to 13 years in prison and five years' house arrest on charges of participating in "activities aimed at overthrowing the people's administration," "undermining of national unity," and disseminating "propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam," news reports said.

In 2013, Dieu submitted a petition to authorities calling for a new investigation and trial on the grounds that his conviction was based on fabricated information, according to Radio Free Asia. After his petition was rejected, he refused to wear prison clothes emblazoned with the word "criminal," according to his brother and a former fellow inmate who were quoted by Radio Free Asia. Dieu was severely beaten by prison authorities and refused visitation rights in response, according to the same Radio Free Asia report.

Dieu went on hunger strike several times in 2014 to protest prison conditions, including overcrowding and poor sanitation in his cell, according to a news report that quoted one of his former prison mates, Truong Minh Tam. His brother, Dang Xuan Ha, told Radio Free Asia that Dieu was frequently beaten and humiliated by prison authorities and other inmates.

Dieu and fellow inmates staged a 10-day hunger strike in January 2015 to protest ill-treatment in prison, including denial of access to newspapers, books, and a Vietnamese-English dictionary sent to them by supporters, according to a Radio Free Asia report that quoted the mother of one of his fellow inmates. He staged another hunger strike in March 2015 to protest the mistreatment of one of his cellmates, the report said.

Dieu was transferred from Thanh Hoa province's No. 5 prison to Ba Ria Vung Tau province's Xuyen Moc prison in late 2014. In 2015, Dieu was said to be frail and sickly after staging the hunger strikes, according to Truong Minh Tam, a former fellow political prisoner who regularly visits him, Radio Free Asia said. Tam told a Canadian House of Commons Subcommittee in May 2015 that Dieu has a condition that affects his joints and digestive system, and that his back is badly bent.

In a July 2016 report on the treatment of Vietnamese political prisoners, Amnesty International said Dieu "had variously been held in solitary confinement for prolonged periods, beaten by prison guards, shackled in a cell with a prisoner who beat him, forced to drink unclean water, denied water for washing, a blanket and mosquito net, and lived in unsanitary conditions with no toilet in the cell" in a report on the treatment of Vietnamese political prisoners. The government made no official response to the report, Agence-France Presse reported.

Ho Duc Hoa, Vietnam Redemptorist News

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
July 30, 2011

Hoa, a religious activist and frequent contributor to the news website Vietnam Redemptorist News, was arrested at Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam Redemptorist News, which is run by the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, a Catholic church in Ho Chi Minh City, reports on the plight of the country's persecuted Catholic minority, land disputes between the government and grassroots communities, and other social issues.

Hoa was first detained on unspecified charges under article 79 of the penal code, which outlines penalties for activities aimed at overthrowing the government. He was also accused of being a member of the exile-run Viet Tan party, an organization outlawed by the dominant Communist party.

In a two-day trial that concluded on January 9, 2013, a court in the northern city of Vinh convicted and sentenced the journalist to 13 years in prison and five years' house arrest on charges of participating in "activities aimed at overthrowing the people's administration," "undermining of national unity," and disseminating "propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam," news reports said.

An appellate court upheld Hoa's prison sentence on May 23, 2013. A devout Catholic, Hoa has been denied access to religious materials while in prison, according to U.S. Congressional testimony in June 2015 by his international defense lawyer, Allen Weiner.

He was being held at Ba Sao prison at Phu Ly in northern Nam Ha province in late 2016, according to Vietnam Right Now, a website that publishes human-rights-related news about Vietnam. CPJ was not able to determine Hoa's health condition in late 2016.

Nguyen Huu Vinh (Anh Ba Sam), Ba Sam

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
May 5, 2014

Vinh, a blogger who established the popular Ba Sam news site and aggregator, was arrested at his home in the capital, Hanoi. On March 23, 2016, he was sentenced by Hanoi's People's Court to five years in prison for "abusing democratic freedoms to impinge on the interests of the state," an anti-state offense under article 258 of the penal code.

In a one-day trial, Judge Nguyen Van Pho ruled that 24 articles had distorted the ruling Communist Party's policies, reduced public trust in the party, and went against the interests of the nation, according to news reports. The articles appeared on two blogs, Dan Quyen (Citizen's Rights) and Chep Su Viet (Writing Vietnamese History), which Vinh had created. The articles were also reposted on Ba Sam, the reports said.

The blogger's lawyer, Ha Huy San, told The Associated Press before the ruling that both Vinh and his editorial assistant, Nguyen Thi Minh, had denied the charges, claiming they were no longer administering the blogs and had "no relation" to the postings in question. Ba Sam often posted links to state-run Vietnamese media, with critical commentary added by the blog's administrators, as well as translated versions of international news on political, economic, and social issues, according to reports.

The site also published posts from activists and was considered a rallying point by activists for protests against China's perceived encroachment on Vietnamese territories, news reports said. Vinh's arrest came just after China stationed an oil rig in waters claimed by Vietnam in May 2014, setting off a months-long maritime standoff and anti-China riots.

Vinh, a former policeman and son of a Communist Party Central Committee member, announced in September 2012 that he would end his direct involvement with the blog due to increased pressure by the authorities, reports said. Due to frequent cyber-attacks on Ba Sam, the blog has appeared at different web addresses, news reports said. The blog is still operational, through an administrator based in the United States, reports said.

On September 22, 2016, an appellate court upheld Vinh's conviction and full prison sentence. Presiding judge Ngo Hong Phuc ruled that "the crimes committed are serious, obviously infringing on the interests of the state" and that the prison sentences were "well-founded, in line with regulations of the law," reports said.

Vinh maintained his innocence at the one-day appeal trial, saying in testimony that he was "absolutely innocent" and that his conviction was not "evidence-based." Loudspeakers in a media room attached to the court were muted near the end of Vinh's closing speech, reports said.

Vinh has suffered health complications while in prison. Vinh's wife, Le Thi Minh Ha, said that when she visited her husband in prison on October 26, 2015, he had a rash that she suspected was symptomatic of liver and blood diseases caused by lack of sunlight, Ba Sam reported.

Vinh's lawyer, Truong Hoa Binh, filed a petition two days later to President Truong Tan Sang and other authorities demanding that Vinh be allowed to visit a specialist doctor and receive medicine, and to be given access to reading materials. The requests were not granted. Vinh was being held at Hanoi's B-14 detention center in late 2016.

Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy, Ba Sam

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
May 5, 2014

Thuy, an editorial assistant with the independent Ba Sam blog, was first arrested by police at her home in the capital, Hanoi. She was later charged with "abusing democratic freedoms to impinge on the interests of the state," an anti-state offense under article 258 of the penal code. On March 23, 2016, she was sentenced by Hanoi's People's Court to three years in prison for "abusing democratic freedoms to impinge on the interests of the state," an anti-state offense under article 258 of the penal code.

In a one-day trial, Judge Nguyen Van Pho ruled that 24 articles in question had distorted the ruling Communist Party's policies, reduced public trust in the party, and went against the interests of the nation, according to news reports. The articles appeared on two blogs, Dan Quyen (Citizen's Rights) and Chep Su Viet (Writing Vietnamese History). It was not clear that Thuy had an editorial role at the blogs at the time of her arrest. The articles were also reposted on Ba Sam, the reports said.

The blogger's lawyer, Ha Huy San, told The Associated Press before the ruling that both she and the blogs' creator, Nguyen Huu Vinh, had denied the charges, claiming they had "no relation" to the postings in question. Ba Samposted links to state-run Vietnamese media, with critical commentary added by the blog's administrators, as well as translated versions of international news on political, economic, and social issues, according to reports.

The site also published posts from activists and was considered a rallying point by activists for protests against China's perceived encroachment on Vietnamese territories, news reports said. Thuy's and Vinh's arrest came just after China stationed an oil rig in waters claimed by Vietnam in May 2014, setting off a months-long maritime standoff and anti-China riots.

Vinh, a former policeman and son of a Communist Party Central Committee member, announced in September 2012 that he would end his direct involvement with the blog due to increased pressure by the authorities, reports said. Due to frequent cyber-attacks against Ba Sam, the blog has appeared at different Web addresses, news reports said. The blog is still operational, through an administrator based in the United States, reports said.

On September 22, 2016, an appellate court ruled to uphold Thuy's conviction and full prison sentence. Presiding judge Ngo Hong Phuc ruled that "the crimes committed are serious, obviously infringing on the interests of the state" and that the prison sentences were "well-founded, in line with regulations of the law," reports said. Thuy maintained her innocence at the one-day trial, according to reports.

She was being held at Hanoi's B-14 detention center.

Nguyen Dinh Ngoc (Nguyen Ngoc Gia), Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
December 27, 2014

Ngoc was first arrested after police searched his home in southern Ho Chi Minh City.

On March 30, 2016, Ho Chi Minh City's People's Court sentenced him to four years in prison and three years probation under article 88 of the penal code, which carries maximum penalties of 20 years in prison for "propagandizing" against the state.

Judges ruled that 22 articles, 14 of which were published online, defamed Communist Party leaders and the state, news reports said. Ngoc is a frequent contributor to the independent blog sites Lam Bao Dan (People's Newspaper) and Dan Luan (People's Opinion). He was also a frequent contributor to Radio Free Asia, reports said.

Weeks before his arrest, Ngoc highlighted in blog posts and comments to Radio Free Asia the cases of recently detained fellow bloggers Nguyen Quang Lap and Hong Le Tho on anti-state charges of "abusing democratic freedoms." (Lap and Tho were later released.) Ngoc had also posted about Ta Phong Tan, a blogger who at the time was serving a 10-year sentence for "disseminating anti-state propaganda" and who had staged a hunger strike to protest her mistreatment in prison.

Ngoc told Radio Free Asia in a mid-December interview: "As we reach the end of 2014, many prisoners of conscience are suffering from harassment and torture ... and despite the fact that the government has ratified the international convention against torture, there has been no improvement." Press reports said Ngoc also complained in a blog post before his arrest that his Gmail and Facebook accounts had been hacked.

On October 4, 2016, an appellate court reduced his prison sentence from four to three years. Ngoc's lawyer, Ha Huy Son, told reporters that the reduction was granted because of Ngoc's family ties to the ruling Communist Party. The court upheld the three year probationary period, which will restrict Ngoc from leaving his residential compound in Ho Chi Minh City after fully serving his prison term.

Son said that Ngoc requested early release because he was suffering from undisclosed health problems since being imprisoned. Ngoc was held in pretrial detention for 15 months before his conviction. He was being held at Ho Chi Minh City's Phan Dang Luu Detention Center, according to the independent human rights website Vietnam Right Now.

Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh (Me Nam), Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
October 10, 2016

Quynh, popularly known by her pen name Me Nam (Mother Mushroom), was arrested on October 10, 2016, while trying to visit an imprisoned political activist in the central coastal town of Nha Trang.

Police forced Quynh and the activist's mother into a car at the Song Lo prison facility, then drove to the blogger's home, which is in the same town. Quynh was handcuffed and police searched her home and confiscated her computer and other electronic equipment, the reports said. According to news reports, at least 10 government vehicles and 50 police officials blocked the road leading to her house during the raid.

Quynh-who writes on her own blog and on platforms run by Vietnamese abroad, including Dan Lam Bao-was taken to Song Lo prison and charged under article 88 of the penal code, a provision that carries maximum penalties of 20 years in prison for the vague crime of "propagandizing" against the state, according to the BBC. Quynh's mother, Nguyen Thi Tuyet Lan, told the independent blog Dan Lam Bao that police threatened to imprison Quynh for a "couple of years" while raiding her house.

During the raid on her home, police also confiscated placards with slogans calling on the Vietnamese government to file a legal case against the Taiwan-owned Formosa Plastics steel plant for its role in a toxic spill that caused mass fish deaths in April off the coast of Vietnam's central Ha Tinh and nearby provinces, reports said. The environmental damage sparked rare public protests in Vietnam calling for official accountability and corporate responsibility for the disaster. Police authorities accused Quynh of being a member of Viet Tan, an outlawed political party officials often blame for organizing and carrying out anti-government public protests.

A statement posted on the police website of Khanh Hoa province, where the city of Nha Trang is located, said Quynh was being held for posting anti-state news, including a report that compiled 31 cases in which civilians had died in police custody, news reports said. The police statement said the report showed "hostility towards the police force," the reports said. News reports quoting her mother said Quynh was denied access to her lawyers as of late October. She staged a hunger strike beginning on October 12 in response to her lack of legal representation in the investigation phase of the charges lodged against her, according to news reports. Quynh was being held at Song Lo prison.

Ho Van Hai (Ho Hai), Freelance

Medium:
Internet
Charge:
Anti-State
Imprisoned:
November 2, 2016

Police in Ho Chi Minh City's Thu Duc district arrested the blogger Ho Van Hai, popularly known by his pen name, Ho Hai, on November 2, 2016.

A statement on Ho Chi Minh City's website said that Hai was accused of "spreading information and documents on the internet that are against the government of the Social Republic of Vietnam," news reports said. Nguyen Sy Quang, a spokesman for the Ho Chi Minh City police, told reporters that Hai had disseminated "distorted" information that caused the public to lose trust in the government, according to media reports.

Quang said police officials had been monitoring Hai's online activities before his arrest, and that his posts may have violated article 88 of the penal code, which outlaws the dissemination of "propaganda" against the state. The official did not provide details or the subjects of the posts in question. Convictions under the law, frequently leveled at dissidents and journalists, carry maximum sentences of 20 years in prison.

Hai's personal blog and Facebook account were inaccessible on the day of his arrest, reports said. Vietnam Right Now, an independent news website, reported that Hai had recently posted articles about government corruption and an environmental disaster, caused by a steel factory, along the country's central coast that sparked a series of protests against the government's handling of the crisis.

As of late 2016, CPJ had not been able to determine where Hai was jailed.

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Zambia: 1

Chanda Chimba, Phibajo Production, Stand up for Zambia, News of Our Times

Medium:
Print, Television
Charge:
Retaliatory
Imprisoned:
November 28, 2016

A Lusaka judge convicted Zambian filmmaker Chanda Chimba on November 28, 2016, of unlawful printing and publication, possession of property suspected to be proceeds of a crime, and failure to register his production company and two newspapers, according to news reports.

The charges relate to a documentary series he produced called "Stand up for Zambia," a newspaper of the same name, and a second paper, News of Our Times, the Lusaka Times reported. The journalist was sentenced the day after his conviction to two years in prison with hard labor, and a fine of 1,000 kwacha (20 U.S. cents), according to reports.

The documentaries, which were critical of then-opposition leader Michael Sata, were aired on the state broadcaster Zambian National Broadcasting Corporation ahead of the 2011 presidential election that Sata won.

In August 2012, President Sata ordered that Chimba be arrested and questioned over the documentaries, which were uploaded to YouTube that year, according to Zambia Reports. Officers searched the journalist's home and confiscated his laptop. He was charged the following January, according to reports. Sata died in 2014.

The charge of disposing of property relates to money Chimba allegedly paid Muvi TV to air the documentaries, and to Zambia Daily Mail, according to news reports. A security manager at Muvi TV testified that Chimba paid to have all 16 episodes broadcast by the station.

The journalist was also convicted of failing to register his company, Phibajo Production, and the newspapers Stand up for Zambia and News of Our Times with the National Archives, according to local news reports. Neither paper is currently in production.

Chimba's co-accused, former Information Minister Lieutenant-General Ronnie Shikapwasha and former Information Permanent Secretary Sam Phiri, were acquitted on charges of abuse of office, the Lusaka Times reported. The judge ruled that the prosecution failed to prove they had directed the state broadcaster to air the documentaries.

Chimba's lawyer asked the court to take into consideration that the journalist has advanced prostate cancer and was receiving hospital treatment three times a month. The judge said he had taken note of Chimba's illness, but that the defense had failed to present a medical report, the Zambian Observer reported.

Chimba was due to apply for bail pending an appeal in late 2016, according to the Daily Nation.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: This census has been corrected to reflect the addition of Ethiopian journalist Abebe Wube, who was mistakenly left off the list when it was initially published. The text has also been updated to reflect that Ethiopian journalist Solomon Kebede was released from prison in April 2016.

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