Journalist Ferhat Çelik detained again

MA editor Ferhat Çelik was interrogated by the prosecution and released after his detention in Istanbul on Tuesday. Immediately after his release, he was detained again for reasons unknown so far.

Kurdish journalist Ferhat Çelik has been released after a prosecution hearing in Istanbul and re-detained in another investigation. The editor of the Mezopotamya News Agency (MA) was taken from his flat in Istanbul's Şişli district by plainclothes police on Tuesday and was brought to the Palace of Justice in Çağlayan today for prosecutorial questioning after a night in police custody.

The Gaziantep Chief Public Prosecutor's Office accuses Çelik, as the editor in charge, of "terror propaganda" for MA's reporting in the period between August and September 2020. The content of the criminalised articles was mainly about the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan and his importance for a peaceful solution of the Kurdish question. Further topics were the torture practice of the police in Urfa and the “helicopter torture”. The hearing took place via video conferencing system. Afterwards, the journalist was brought before the magistrate, who ordered his release.

Immediately afterwards, in the course of further proceedings, he was taken into custody again. Ferhat Çelik was taken to the police station in the Mecidiyeköy district. It is not known what he is accused of this time.

Various criminal proceedings are pending against the MA editor in connection with his professional activities. After his detention on Tuesday evening, numerous journalists and organisations showed solidarity with Çelik and called for his release.

In 2020, Çelik was held in pre-trial detention for several months because he and seven other journalists were accused of "violating the intelligence law" for their reporting on the death of an employee of the Turkish intelligence service MIT in Libya.