Press Freedom

Journalist Sezgin Kartal whose house was raided on ‘Working Journalists’ Day’ has been arrested

KarşıMahalle reporter Sezgin Kartal who was taken into custody following a police raid to his house early in the morning on Working Journalists’ Day has been arrested after a three-day police custody.

On January 10th which marks the Working Journalists’ Day in Turkey, journalist Sezgin Kartal who is represented by the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) was taken into custody after the police raided his house early in the morning. Shortly after the journalist was taken into police custody, a confidentiality order was imposed on the investigation file, thereby limiting Kartal’s lawyers’ access to the investigation files. Despite the appeals of MLSA lawyers, Kartal was brought before the prosecutor and the judge while there was still a confidentiality order imposed on the investigation file.

After being held in police custody for two days, the police took the statement of the journalist in the presence of his lawyers and then referred him to the Çağlayan Courthouse on January 13th. During his questioning by the prosecutor, lawyer Ülkü Şahin of the Journalists’ Union of Turkey accompanied Kartal’s lawyers. The prosecutor questioned the journalist about images found in the digital materials which have been confiscated during the house raid and open investigations/cases against him. Following the questioning, the prosecutor referred Kartal to the İstanbul 8th Criminal Judgeship of Peace and requested him to be arrested over the suspicion of “membership in a terrorist organization.”

During the interrogation, the judge of the İstanbul 8th Criminal Judgeship of Peace posed the same questions to the journalist. After 20 minutes of interrogation, the judge ordered for Kartal’s arrest over “the strong suspicion” that Kartal may have committed the offense of “membership in a terrorist organization.” The judge who reasoned that “judicial control measures will not be sufficient” also disregarded the Cemil Uğur judgment of the Constitutional Court as well as the arguments of Kartal’s lawyers.

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