Press Freedom

MLSA files a criminal complaint against individuals who assaulted journalists Vedat Örüç and Elif Kurttaş

EYLEM SONBAHAR

The Legal Team of the Media and Law Studies (MLSA) filed a criminal complaint against recycling company employees who had physically assaulted journalists Vedat Örüç and Elif Kurttaş while they were following up a news story in Adana. The criminal complaint was filed on “deprivation of liberty”, “violation of the freedom to work and labor”, “insult”, “threat”, “intentional injury” and “robbery” charges.

On July 27th, journalists Vedat Örüç and Elif Kurttaş were assaulted by the employees of the Akgül Plastic Recycling Company in Adana who also confiscated their equipment. The journalists were visiting the company located in the Adana Recycling Compound where most of the imported waste is treated to document the recycling process of imported waste and reportedly unsafe working environment. In the complaint filed with the Adana Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, MLSA lawyers argued that journalists who were trying to report on a matter which was even brought up in parliamentary discussions, were battered, deprived of their liberty, insulted and their freedom to work and labor was violated.

In the complaint, it was emphasized that journalists were preparing their news article by talking to the workers in the compound to whom they were referred by the company employees, that the photographs they took were taken after necessary permissions were obtained and that they even conducted an interview with İbrahim Akbulut who was introduced as the person in charge. It was also shared with the authorities that the journalists possess the recording of the interview with İbrahim Akbulut and that Akbulut is on record saying that “Share the link after the article is published so that we can also read it.” The incident was summarized as follows: “The clients encountered the crowd, which also included Mustafa Akbulut as they were about to leave the compound. Without any prior interaction, however, Mustafa Akbulut started insulting and heavily swearing before detaining the journalists. Mustafa Akbulut and individuals who can be identified over the security camera footage, forcefully detained the journalists in a room to which our client Vedat Örüç was dragged. Having been detained for half an hour in the room, our clients were deprived of their freedom. During that time Vedat Örüç was battered and the memory card removed from his camera was taken. The memory card which was forcefully taken out of Örüç’s camera is yet to be returned to our client. After having insisted upon calling the law enforcement to the scene, our clients were forcefully removed from the premises of the Akgül PGD Company while being battered and heavily insulted.”

*This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. The work may be used and redistributed for non-commercial purposes with proper attribution to the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA).