Edirne – Mezopotamya Agency reporter İdris Sayılğan is arrested upon being taken in police custody while reporting on the refugees crossing Turkey’s Greek border in Edirne’s Pazarkule district after Turkey’s statement on opening its borders to Europe, has been arrested.
Mezopotamya Agency reporters İdris Sayılğan and Naci Kaya, who were in Edirne to report on the refugees crossing the border, were taken in police custody on Saturday, 29 February.
Sayılğan, who is represented by the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA), was arrested on the basis that he violated the international travel ban that was in effect for him. It has been stated that Naci Kaya is still under custody.
Sayılğan was sentenced to 8 years 3 months in prison for “membership in a terrorist organization” charges by Muş 2nd High Criminal Court in January 2019 and was released with judicial control measures including an international travel ban on 27 November 2019 by the decision of Erzurum Appallate Court’s 2nd Penal Chamber during an examination of his appeal.
Sayılğan testified before the Erzurum Appellate Court’s 2nd Penal Chamber via the Audio and Visual Information System (SEGBİS) today following Edirne Chief Prosecutor’s Office’s letter claiming that Sayılğan ‘was caught while trying to cross the border’ despite the travel ban. Erzurum court ruled for Sayılğan’s arrest on the grounds that he willingly violated the judicial measures against him.
Sayılğan: I was there to report news, not to cross the border
In his defence via SEGBİS, Sayılğan made the following statements: “I started working for Mezopotamya Agency a month ago. We did not shoot in a secluded place. I did not know that we were filming in a military zone. They [gendarmerie officers] detained us while we were shooting with a camera. If we had known that it was a forbidden zone, we would have sought a permit. But the various media outlets were conducting interviews and live broadcasting there. We are journalists and we went there to report news. I was not there to flee the country, I was there to report the news. I did not have such an intention. I request my release.”
Journalist İdris Sayılğan has been sent to Edirne F Type Closed Prison following the arrest decision. MLSA Legal Unit will appeal the decision.