Turkey: Charges must be dropped in trial of journalists following failed coup

Turkey: Charges must be dropped in trial of journalists following failed coup - Civic Space

People protest attacks on press freedom outside the offices of the Kurdish-focused newspaper 'Ozgur Gundem', in response to the arrest of three prominent human rights lawyers who were arrested for 'colluding with terrorists' for their part in guest editing the newspaper.

On 2 September, the first hearing will take place in a trial concerning three former senior editors of Taraf daily newspaper, Ahmet Altan, Yasemin Çongar and Yıldıray Oğur; and two journalists, Mehmet Baransu and Tuncay Opçin.

Representatives of ARTICLE 19, Danish Pen, the European Federation of Journalists, Index on Censorship, the Norwegian Press Association, the Norwegian Journalists’ Union, PEN International, PEN Germany and Wales PEN Cymru, will be attending the trial in order to demonstrate solidarity with the defendants and with media freedom more broadly in Turkey. The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales is also attending to observe the hearing.

An international coalition of organisations is calling for all charges to dropped and that Baransu be immediately released. 

The charges pre-date the 15 July coup attempt; however, this is athe first high profile trial of journalists since following the declaration of the State of Emergency in Turkey, under which at least 100 journalists have been detained. This trial is therefore of particular significance, as it may shed light on how the courts will approach cases concerning the right to freedom of expression and the right to a fair trial under the state of emergency – even when not directly related to the coup attempt.

We believe the trial to be politically motivated and call on the government to drop all charges against the accused and to immediately and unconditionally release Mehmet Baransu, who has been held in pre-trial since his arrest on 2 March 2015.