Jailed journalist Solin asked to sign document saying 'I am a member of an illegal organization'

IHD co-chair Eren Keskin said that journalist Esra Solin Dal was presented a paper to sign saying "I am a member of an illegal organization" in order to be moved to the ward.

Mezopotamya Agency journalist Esra Solin Dal, one of the three free media workers arrested on the grounds of their journalistic activities, was kept in an isolation cell for 65 days in Bakırköy Women's Closed Prison, where she was subjected to strip search. The humiliating practice was protested by her journalist colleagues. Human Rights Association (IHD) co-chair Eren Keskin, told ANF that the torture against the journalist was not limited to strip searches.

Journalist Esra Solin Dal was not given food for three days

Eren Keskin, who visited journalist Esra Solin Dal on 30 April, said that she was still kept in an isolation cell under the name of quarantine. She was not even given food for three days except for dry bread and water. Keskin pointed out that she was not taken out on air for two days and that she was strip searched not only at the entrance of Bakırköy Prison but also at Vatan Police Department, where she was detained before her arrest.

Keskin said: "She was very affected when telling about the torture she experienced. She explained that intelligence officers tried to question her during the night, but she rejected this unlawfulness, saying that she would not testify without her lawyer. She was very uneasy about this imposition of forced statement taking."

Journalist refused to sign any paper

Lawyer Keskin pointed out that Esra Solin Dal, who wanted to be moved to the ward, was tried to be made to sign a document saying "I am a member of an illegal organization, I want to move to this ward" by the prison administration and observation board.

Noting that Esra Solin Dal did not accept this arbitrary practice, Eren Keskin said: "This is a completely illegal practice. Of course, Solin rejected this illegal practice and declared that she wanted to stay with the people who were tried for the same reason as her. The Prison Administration and Monitoring Board exceeds all its powers and is literally playing with people's lives. They are doing unfair things to people just because they demand their rights, and because they do not swear allegiance. These Prison Observation Boards, which have many purposes such as scaring, unsettling and labeling people, really need to be opened up for discussion."

Double standards on free media should be discussed

Eren Keskin emphasized that although Solin was in prison for the first time, she showed a very determined attitude and opposed these rights violations. Reminding that Solin and her two accompanying journalists were imprisoned for the news they made, Keskin underlined the need to object to this unlawfulness that has become systematic. "The state is very unfair to journalists, the main opposition is just watching this," said Eren Keskin, adding: "Yes, the state prevents freedom of expression and imprisons journalists, but it is not enough to just criticize the state here. The double standards of the opposition, especially the main opposition, also need to be discussed. If you fight only for certain journalists, only voice the rights violations against certain journalists, and do not voice other rights violations against the free media, you will be no different from the state."

'Only in fascist governments journalists are imprisoned!'

Keskin said that "Solin was imprisoned for her journalistic activities," and added: "The judge just asked her 'Why are you making news about isolation? 'Why are you making news about femicide?' The Republic of Turkey has signed the European Convention on Human Rights. Articles 9 and 10 of this agreement guarantee freedom of expression. But Turkey is not a state of law. It violates all the international agreements that it accepts in its Constitution and beyond its own domestic law. We are in 2024: it is irrational for a journalist to be arrested for the news he/she made. This is something that can only happen during fascist governments and military coup times. Unfortunately, the AKP is now doing everything it once criticized."