Reporters Without Borders condemns Turkey’s trial of journalists

Reporters Without Borders (RSF), repeated its condemnation of the trial of 29 journalists and media workers that is expected to conclude in Turkey tomorrow.

The trial’s approaching end follows on the heels of life sentences handed out last week to a trio of prominent Turkish writers, Ahmet Altan, his brother Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak, on charges of involvement in Turkey’s failed July 2016 coup attempt.

The 29 journalists currently awaiting their verdicts face charges because of their employment by media groups allegedly connected to the Gülen movement, which the Turkish government labels a terror organisation and holds responsible for the attempted coup.

On Feb. 6, prosecutors requested 15-year jail terms for 23 of the defendants for the crime of membership of a terrorist organisation.

“The Turkish courts are again being used to execute an act of political revenge,” said Johann Bihr, the head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk. “We again demand the immediate release of all journalists held without proof of direct and individual involvement in violent acts. This trial highlights the urgent need to reform Turkey’s terrorism law and to lift the state of emergency, which are being used to silence critics.”

Turkey ranks 155th out of 180 countries on RSF’s press freedom index.