Turkish court releases 15 Kurdish journalists at first hearing after one year in jail

A Turkish court on July 12 ordered the release of 15 Kurdish journalists arrested in Diyarbakır one year ago over “terrorism” charges at the first hearing. The prosecutors seek 15 years in prison for 18 journalists, considering the airing of their news reports on foreign-based Kurdish TV channels as “organizational connections.”

Duvar English

Diyarbakır High Criminal Court on July 12 reached a decision to release 15 Kurdish journalists after one year in jail at the first hearing of the case where 18 journalists on trail over “terrorism” charges. 

Turkish police on June 8, 2022 detained 18 journalists in the southeastern Diyarbakır province and the court on June 16, 2022 ruled for the arrest of 15 of them. 

The Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office prepared a 728-page-long indictment after ten months and listed the names of programs on Kurdish TV channels that broadcast abroad and considered the airing of the journalists’ news reports on these TV channels as “organizational connections.”

The journalists demanded their acquittal at the first hearing saying that their professional activities cannot be the subject of an investigation. 

Despite the prosecution's request for the continued arrest of all journalists, the court unanimously ruled for the release of them under judicial control measures. Hence, the co-chair of Dicle Fırat Journalists Association, the editor of Mezopotamya Agency, the editor-in-chief of Xwebûn newspaper, and other journalists were released at the first hearing.

Lawyers of the journalists deemed the release as “a long overdue apology.” In the press statement issued after the hearing, the participants stated that "Today’s hearing revealed that the journalists were not doing anything other than their professional activities."