Serkan Alan / DUVAR
Journalists who were arrested last week are being kept in isolation, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Utku Çakırözer has said upon visiting them in Silivri Prison.Journalist Barış Pehlivan press charges against prison guard for battering him
Six journalists were arrested last week over a report covering the funeral of a member of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) killed in Libya.
"Isolating prisoners or convicts and keeping them alone in a prison cell is a way of punishment on its own. I call on the prison authorities and the Justice Ministry to end this practice," Çakırözer told Duvar on March 11.
Online news portal OdaTV's news director Barış Terkoğlu and reporter Hülya Kılınç were arrested on March 5 on suspicion of disclosing the identity of an intelligence agency official even though the name had been revealed by a lawmaker a week earlier.
A day later, OdaTV’s editor-in-chief Barış Pehlivan was also arrested.
On March 8, Yeniçağ columnist Murat Ağırel, Yeni Yaşam editor-in-chief Ferhat Çelik and the daily’s news editor Aydın Keser were arrested over the same story, bringing the number of journalists arrested in the case to six.OdaTV's editor-in-chief Barış Pehlivan arrested for report on intel officer's funeral
The journalists demanded indictments into them to be prepared as soon as possible, adding that the story on the intelligence officer has nothing to do with their arrests, Çakırözer said.
"The issue is that they want to prevent us from covering stories and writing books. They want to make us pay a price, but everyone should know that we put up a struggle in the past and we walked out with our heads held high," Pehlivan said, referring to the time when he and Terkoğlu were arrested in 2011.
"It's sad to see that Turkey hasn't learned any lessons from its near history," he also said, referring to several cases, including Ergenekon and OdaTv trials that were launched in late 2000s and early 2010s, that were later revealed to be based on fabricated evidence created by members of the movement of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.
Pehlivan also said that they were especially cautious to not violate the MİT law.
"We didn't reveal his surname, his hometown and his house. So there's no crime. They only keep us here for intimidation," he noted.Access to OdaTV banned after report on intelligence officer killed in Libya
Pehlivan also talked about how he was treated when he arrived at the Silivri Prison.
"One of the guardians addressed me in a humiliating manner. He later hit me in the back twice and tried to provoke me. I didn't respond. I only said, 'I will file a complaint about your violent behavior.' I asked my lawyers to do so," he said.
Yeni Yaşam's Keser and Çelik, meanwhile, said that they don't know the reason for their arrest since they didn't report that the person killed was a MİT officer in their story, Çakırözer said.
"We still don't understand why we were arrested. We only wrote, 'There are allegations that the dead soldier is a MİT official.' Other than that, there is no mention of the MİT in our story," they told Çakırözer.