Jun 13 2019

Three critical Turkish journalists released from prison

Three Turkish journalists linked to dissident media outlets were released this week, local press reported.

Ayşe Düzkan was imprisoned for taking part in a solidarity campaign for Özgür Gündem, a newspaper that was shuttered in August 2016 over alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

After began serving an 18-month sentence in January. She was released this week after over 130 days in prison, her daughter Haziran Düzkan tweeted.

A Turkish court also released left-wing Etkin News Agency (ETHA) editor Semiha Şahin and reporter Pınar Gayıp from pre-trial detention on Thursday.

The journalists were released to house arrest, independent Turkish outlet Bianet reported.

The pair are accused of membership of a terrorist organisation and making terrorist propaganda due to their social media posts and work for ETHA.

Şahin and Gayıp had spent 14 months in pre-trial detention. Their next hearing is in October.

Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has earned a dismal reputation on press freedoms, and the frequent prosecution of press workers has made Turkey the world’s leading jailer of journalists for the past three years running.

In May, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vowed to improve human rights in Turkey and reduce the number of people in detention before trial.