Release decision for journalist Müftüoğlu

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  • 13:23 29 February 2024
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AMED - A release decision was made for DFG Co-chair and MA editor Dicle Müftüoğlu.

The trial in which Dicle Fırat Journalists Association (DFG) Co-chair and Mezopotamya Agency (MA) editor Dicle Müftüoğlu is being held in pre-trial detention has started. The 3rd hearing of Müftüoğlu, who was detained in Amed during a raid on his house on April 29, 2023, within the scope of the Ankara-based investigation and was arrested on the charge of "being a member of a terrorist organization" by the court on May 3, World Journalists' Day, was held at Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court. Müftüoğlu is accused of "being a member of a terrorist organization" and "establishing and managing a terrorist organization".
Müftüoğlu was connected to the hearing via Audio and Video Information System (SEGBIS) from Sincan Women's Closed Prison. Müftüoğlu's lawyers were present at the hearing. Many professional organizations are following the hearing. Members of the International Delegation of Lawyers Against Isolation also attended the hearing.
The hearing started with the hearing of the secret witness. The secret witness stated that Müftüoğlu worked at MA, where she was responsible for woman employees and that she attended meetings with women's organizations as a representative. The secret witness claimed that journalist Müftüoğlu asked women for news about "important days of the terrorist organization". When asked "Do you have any empirical information about Müftüoğlu's membership in the organization?", the secret witness replied: "No. Based on these activities, I think she is carrying out activities on behalf of the terrorist organization."
Lawyer Resul Temur said to the secret witness, “You previously said that Müftüoğlu attended meetings with women's institutions in Amed. On which date, which institution, where did she join?" The secret witness said, "I don't remember the date and place." The secret witness said that the names of the organizations "cannot come to his mind right now."
Regarding the witness statements, Müftüoğlu said: "I have been a journalist for 15 years. I work at Mezopotamya Agency. Previously, I worked at Etkin News Agency and Dicle News Agency and worked as a journalist. I am also a DFG manager and a founding member. I assume that the witness has no knowledge of journalism. There are only allegations and slander, not based on concrete evidence. I worked as a reporter for 15 years within the scope of journalism. I worked in many cities. I was an editor before I was arrested. There is a professional hierarchy in the news centre. You have to hold meetings to organize your broadcast schedule. Reporters offer their suggestions, and editors working in the newsroom also make suggestions on current issues. This is not an instruction. This is a purely professional event."
Müftüoğlu continued as follows: "Every agency, every newspaper has a publishing line and makes news accordingly. When there is an agenda such as the mine disaster in Licik (İlic), all reporters go there and suggestions are made by the news centre. Yesterday, 8 women were killed. In such a country, of course, the news centre will discuss this, meet with women's organizations and meet with them to show the struggle against them. I agree with the statements of all women's organizations in that city. This is my duty as a journalist. The headquarters of MA is Istanbul and therefore the witness. His claim is a lie. There is not a single claim that reflects the truth."
Lawyer Resul Temur said: “The secret witness acts with the motivation of punishment. The secret witness goes beyond the testimony and takes the place of the prosecution. The secret witness leads to a collective accusation and aims to punish journalists collectively. These statements must not be taken as basis for the verdict."
Lawyer Temur presented the news that Müftüoğlu made in June and July 2014 to the court. Temur said: "These are the news showing that Müftüoğlu was here for a month. This will reveal that the open witness statements do not reflect the truth."
Referring to the statements of the open witness Kerem Gökalp, who was heard at the previous hearing, Temur said: "The statements of the open witness Kerem Gökalp do not reflect the truth. I expressed it throughout two hearings, the client was previously tried at the 5th High Criminal Court. Therefore, in order to clarify this situation, we contacted Dr. Timuçin Köprülü and asked for an evaluation. He prepared an expert opinion, he presented his opinion that the trial was repetitive in the triangle of act, perpetrator and time and that the case must be rejected."
Veysel Ok, one of Dicle Müftüoğlu's lawyers, said: "Every sentence used by the secret witness concerns every journalist in this room. We have been telling you about journalism for 3 sessions. This case has gone beyond Dicle; you are criminalizing all journalists through witness statements. Everyone receives instructions. Reporters too. Isn't Ocalan's capture newsworthy? Do you have to like something that is newsworthy for it to be news?" 
The prosecutor requested the continuation of Müftüoğlu's detention, citing "witness statements, telephone records and strong suspicion of crime".
Speaking about the prosecutor's opinion, Dicle Müftüoğlu said: "As a journalist, I have been imprisoned for 10 months. This in itself is an obstacle to freedom of the press and expression. There is an investigation initiated with witness statements. These statements were refuted and concrete evidence was presented during the trial process. I am detained against allegations that do not reflect the truth. Being tried is a persecution for me. It also prevents me from doing my job."
The court decided to release Müftüoğlu. The committee imposed an international travel ban and postponed the hearing to June 13.

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