On 16 June 2022, as part of a criminal investigation by the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, 16 journalists were arrested over suspicion of “membership in a terrorist organization” after they were held in police custody for eight days. The indictment against the journalists who have spent 158th in pre-trial detention as of today, is yet to be prepared.
After Diyarbakır, arrest and detention warrants were issued against 14 journalists as part of a criminal investigation initiated by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on 20 October 2022. On 25 October 2022, the houses of journalists and the houses of some of the journalists’ families were concurrently raided in nine different cities.
In İstanbul, Mesopotamia News Agency’s (MA) Editor-in-Chief Diren Yurtsever; in Ankara, MA Ankara News Chief Deniz Nazlım together with reporters Berivan Altan and Zemo Ağgöz; in Diyarbakır, MA reporter Selman Güzelyüz and JinNews reporter Habibe Eren; In Van, MA reporter Hakan Yalçın; in Mardin JinNews reporter Öznur Değer; in Şanlıurfa, MA reporters Emrullah Acar and Ceylan Şahinli; and in Manisa former MA intern Mehmet Günhan were taken into custody after their houses were raided by the police.
On the same day, which the journalists were taken into police custody, the Ankara Provincial Security Directorate announced on its Twitter account that 11 journalists were taken into custody over the suspicion of “making news that would incite the public to hatred and animosity.” However, it was later revealed in the decision which restricted the journalists’ contact with their lawyers, that the journalists were in fact taken into custody over the suspicion of “membership in a terrorist organization.”
Journalists who exercised their right to remain silent during their interrogation by the police because of the mistreatment amounting to torture, were referred to the courthouse on 28 October 2022 so that their statements can be taken by the prosecutor’s office. In addition to the lead prosecutor, journalists were interrogated by eight different prosecutors. After the interrogation which lasted for four and a half hours, the prosecutor nine referred journalists to a criminal judgeship of peace and requested their arrest. Also referring former MA intern Mehmet Günhan to the judgeship, the prosecutor requested that Gülhan be released with judicial control measures imposed upon him. On 26 October, MA reporter Zemo Ağgöz was also released to house arrest.
Announcing its decision early in the morning on 29 October 2022, the Ankara 8th Criminal Judgeship of Peace ruled to arrest nine journalists on the grounds that “there is a strong suspicion” of journalists having committed the offense of “membership in a terrorist organization.”
You can read our report here which includes details about how and why journalists were arrested.