December 15, 2014

HRW calls recent detentions of journalists repression of critical media

Emma Sinclair-Webb, the representative of Human Rights Watch (HRW) in Turkey, has stated that the detention of journalists and editors in the context of this latest, wider operation looks like another attempt to crack down on critical media.

Speaking to Today's Zaman about the recent raids and detentions on specific media outlets, Webb said the burden is on the government to produce evidence to justify accusing the Zaman media group and Samanyolu group editors and journalists of being part of an organization that attempted to take over state power. The detentions came days after a government-sponsored bill that made it possible to arrest suspects based on "reasonable doubt."

Zaman Editor-in-Chief Ekrem Dumanlı and Samanyolu TV group Chairman Hidayet Karaca were detained along with more than 20 people in a nationwide operation early on Sunday. A list of suspects, released by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office, shows that a total of 32 people are to be detained.

The suspects are accused of "forming, leading or being a member of an armed terrorist organization," as well as "forgery" and "slander," according to a statement released by the prosecutor's office.

An earlier document showed that the suspects are accused of taking over the sovereignty of the Turkish Republic via pressure and threats, establishing an illegal gang, faking documents, restricting people's freedom and libel.

Published on Today's Zaman, 14 December 2014, Sunday