Journalist Sezgin Kartal whose house was raided on January 10th which marks the Working Journalists’ Day in Turkey, has shared via his lawyers that he was arbitrarily kept in solitary confinement for six days and was not given potable water for three days.
On January 10th, 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. Kartal’s lawyers were denied access to the investigation file after a confidentiality order was imposed upon the file. After being questioned by the police, Kartal was brought to the Çağlayan Court on January 13th to be interrogated by the prosecutor. During the interrogation, the prosecutor asked Kartal questions about photos found in the confiscated digital material and about pending cases against the journalist. After the interrogation, the prosecutor referred journalist Kartal to the İstanbul 8th Criminal Judgeship of Peace and requested him to be arrested over the suspicion of “membership in a terrorist organization.” After a 20-minute interrogation, the judge ruled to arrest the journalist, reasoning that “there is strong suspicion that the offense of ‘membership in a terrorist organization’ was committed and judicial control measures would not be sufficient.”
On 18 January 2023, Kartal’s lawyers whose right of defense was restricted throughout the process demanded to review the investigation file arguing that the law grants lawyers access to certain documents even if there is a confidentiality order imposed upon the file. On 20 January 2023, Kartal’s lawyers, whose demands were not answered, appealed against the judgeship’s decision to arrest the journalist. In their appeal lawyers argued that the elements of the “membership in a terrorist organization” offense did not occur and that the journalist’s arrest was not a proportionate measure.
‘I was arbitrarily kept in a cell’
Kartal was transferred to Metris Type-T Prison after being arrested. After three days, the journalist was transferred to Marmara Prison Complex in Silivri. During their visit, Kartal shared with his lawyers that he was arbitrarily kept in a solitary confinement cell for six days. Kartal also told his lawyers that during three days he was kept in a cell at the Marmara Prison Complex, he was given potable water.
The books brought by his family were not let in
Kartal also shared that his family who visited him earlier brought books for him but these books were not let in on the grounds that there is a limit. Kartal stated that he is only allowed to have seven books.
Pointing out that journalists are threatened with judicial processes, Kartal emphasized that solidarity becomes all the more important through these processes: “I must say that seeing and feeling the solidarity and the support makes me very happy and gives me strength.”
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