Press organisations denounce the court decision to keep journalist Müftüoğlu in prison

Press organisations made a statement in front of the courthouse after the trial of journalist Dicle Müftüoğlu and said they do not recognise the court's decision to keep their colleague in prison.

The second hearing of the lawsuit filed against imprisoned journalist Dicle Müftüoğlu was held at Diyarbakır 5th Heavy Penal Court on Thursday. The Kurdish journalist, co-chair of Dicle Fırat Journalists Association (DFG) and editor of Mesopotamia Agency (MA), has been in custody in Sincan Women's Prison in Ankara since May on suspicion of founding and leading a terrorist organisation and alleged membership of it. 

Imprisoned for about 9 months, the Kurdish journalist appeared before the judge for the second time today. Müftüoğlu was not brought to the hearing at Diyarbakır 5th Heavy Penal Court and attended via video conferencing system SEGBİS from Sincan Prison.

Demanding her release, Müftüoğlu said, "My journalistic activity is on trial in this case. We are on trial for writing the truth. There is great pressure especially on Kurdish journalists. I am one of them. I am a journalist; I am not engaged in organisational activities. For 15 years I have worked to convey the truth. I have fought for journalists to work in a free environment. The trial of a journalist for her news is a threat against journalists. Journalism is not a crime.”

The court ruled to continue the detention of Dicle Müftüoğlu. The next hearing is scheduled for 29 February.

Following the hearing, a press statement was made in front of the courthouse with the participation of representatives and journalists from DFG, Mesopotamia Women Journalists' Association (MKG), DİSK Basın-İş, Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) and Journalists' Union of Turkey (TGS).

Speaking here, DFG Co-chair Serdar Altan stated that Dicle Müftüoğlu's release was prevented by a hostile attitude, while MLSA Co-Director Veysel Ok emphasised that journalism is standing trial.

TGS General Secretary Banu Tuna said, "On 29 February, we must stand in solidarity".

DİSK Basın-İş Chair Turgut Dedeoğlu said, "We do not recognise this decision. The free press cannot be silenced", while Aysel Işık, speaking on behalf of MKG, emphasised that "There has really been a legal bizarreness."