RIGHTS >Amnesty International projects names of jailed journalists onto Turkish embassy in The Hague


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Amnesty International’s branch in The Netherlands has projected the names of jailed Turkish journalists onto the Turkish embassy building in The Hague, in a move to mark May 3 International Press Freedom Day.

The names of daily Birgün journalist Mahir Kanaat and Ahmet Şık from daily Cumhuriyet were projected, along with a statement demanding their release, at around 10 p.m. on May 2.

“Free Mahir Kanaat” and “Free Ahmet Şık” were projected on the embassy building alongside a statement reading “Journalism is not a crime” in both Turkish and English. 

Amnesty International said the projection was made in order to draw attention to the situation of journalists in Turkey, adding that it was part of a global campaign titled “#FreeTurkeyMedia.”

Şık’s wife Yonca Şık told Amnesty International that “Ahmet’s arrest is a message to others: Do not dare to speak out.”

Şık and journalist Nedim Şener were jailed as part of the controversial Oda TV case in 2011. Both spent more than a year in prison while awaiting trial before the publication of Şık’s book, titled “The Imam’s Army.” The book focused on the Gülen movement’s followers within the police and the judiciary at a time when the movement and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) were close. 

Şık and Şener were eventually freed on March 12, 2012, though Şık was again arrested on Dec. 30, 2016 over several tweets and articles for daily Cumhuriyet.

The prosecutor is now demanding a jail term for Şık for “membership of terrorist organizations,” including the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), widely believed to have been behind the failed July 15, 2016 coup attempt. 

Mahir Kanaat, meanwhile, was arrested on Jan. 17 after being kept in detention for 24 days.


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