Free Press under arrest for a month: We are being prosecuted for journalism

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  • 11:10 28 November 2022
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ANKARA - Journalists, who have been imprisoned for a month for their professional activities, stated that they were arrested with a political motive and said, “The government is trying to spread a climate of oppression and fear in the society by arresting us. We are being prosecuted for journalism."
Diren Yurtsever, Editor-in-Chief of the Mezopotamya Agency (MA), reporters Deniz Nazlım, Berivan Altan, Selman Güzelyüz, Hakan Yalçın, Emrullah Acar, Ceylan Şahinli, JINNEWS reporters Habibe Eren and Öznur Değer, who was detained under torture as part of the Ankara-based investigation on October 25 was arrested on October 29 for their journalistic activities. MA reporter Zemo Ağgöz, who was detained within the scope of the same investigation, was released on condition of house arrest, and Mehmet Günhan, who worked as an intern in the Ankara office of MA for a while, was released under judicial control.
Journalists accused because of their work, their phone calls with news sources, and their travels as part of their professional activities, have been held in prison for a month. Journalists held in Sincan Women's Closed Prison and Sincan No. 1 High Security Prison sent messages in the first month of their arrest.
In the joint message of the journalists, they said that the unlawfulness that started with their detention continued in prison for the last month. Journalists who said, "We were arrested with political motive," described this process as follows: "We were detained for 4 days. On the 4th day, we were taken to the courthouse. We did not give any statement until we were taken to the courthouse. However, on the 3rd day of our detention, a ward was prepared for us in Sincan, before our statement was taken and before we were brought to court. The ward where we stayed as 5 female journalists was evacuated the day before the arrest, saying it would be painted. When we were arrested a day later, we were brought to the ward. The ward was painted and its walls were falling apart.”
Emphasizing that the police's attempts to "subdue" and the perception created by the presentation of the footage during their detention were part of the political instruction, the journalists said, “26 Free Press workers have been arrested in the last 5 months. Why were Free Press workers arrested? The current political atmosphere and past experiences provide the answer to this question. The government is trying to get out of this process, in which the political, social and economic crisis has deepened, unscathed. For this, it implements all kinds of unlawfulness and anti-democratic practices. Our arrest is part of this ring of unlawfulness."
Underlining that the arrest of Free Press workers is not independent of the Kurdish question, which is the bleeding wound of the country, the journalists said, “We have become the target of the government, which approaches this problem with war policies under the name of 'security'. They want us not to see, hear or know the truth. If the press doesn't see the truth, if it doesn't know, the society won't know either. But we saw the truth and we did not remain silent. The government, which controls most of the media, is trying to intimidate the press that it cannot control. The government is trying to spread a climate of oppression and fear in society by arresting us. The news we made on the field, our social media activities, the TV shows we presented, were made the subject of accusations. We are prosecuted for our professional activities, for journalism. They shouldn't even have detained us with this file they have, yet we were arrested."

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