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Turkey - more journalists arrested

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Posted by Roy Greenslade's blog

Eleven journalists were among 55 people arrested in Turkey as part of a crackdown on a Marxist group, Revolutionary Peoples' Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C).Police said the raids foiled plans to attack and murder government and security officials as well as diplomatic missions. DHKP-C is considered to be a terrorist organisation by the the European Union and the US. But Human Rights Watch claims the arrests are part of a clampdown on those who oppose the government and accused the Turkish government of “arbitrary and abusive use of anti-terrorism laws."

And the New York-based press freedom watchdog, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), has responded by calling on the Turkish authorities to “halt their practice of jailing journalists on vague anti-terror charges and allow the local press to report freely without fear of imprisonment or harassment."

It says “at least 11 journalists" were among the arrestees, all of whom have denied the accusations. An Istanbul court later released five of them while ordering the imprisonment of the remaining six.

They are Sami Menteþ, reporter for the daily Yurt; Gamze Keþkek and Veysel Þahin, of Tavýr (Attitude) magazine; Yeliz Kýlýç and Doðan Karataþýn, of Yürüyüþ magazine; and Fatih Özgür Aydýn, of Artý Ývme (Positive Acceleration).

The five released Yürüyüþ journalists are Halit Güdenoðlu, Ali Ekber Kalender, Utku Aykar, Necla Can and Tuncer Gümüþ. They must report weekly to the police.

A lawyer told CPJ that some of the journalists were badly beaten by the police while in custody.

CPJ deputy director Robert Mahoney said: “This latest round of arrests is a serious setback for press freedom in Turkey, which holds the dubious distinction of being the world's leading jailer of journalists."

Sources: Bloomberg/CPJ/Bianet

DATELINE: 26 January, 2013


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