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MEHMET ALİ BİRAND > An outcry from the prison

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I received a mail from Çağdaş Ulus, the reporter for daily Vatan, who is a detainee in the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) probe, on the 200th day of his detention. 200 days! He is arrested on charges of being in hierarchical ties with the editor of the Fırat News Agency (ANF), as he once talked to the ANF editor about a news piece. “I was in constant touch with the editors of Milliyet, Taraf, Zaman, Haberturk and Sabah,” says Çağdaş. However, he is claimed to have worked under the instructions of the ANF only because he was in communication with the ANF editor.

The prosecutor’s claim is not limited to that only. Çağdaş is also accused of twice going to Iraq to receive training in the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) camps, under the direction of Murat Akaryılan, and to implement the instructions he got from these camps.

Çağdaş says he was a student in Cyprus in 2005 and went to Alaska, not Iraq, in 2007 as part of the “Work&Travel” scheme. Where he went could be clarified by looking at his passport or asking the U.S. authorities.

We rank first in the world among countries that arrest their journalists. There will be even more arrests if exchanges between journalists are considered to be evidence. There won’t be an end to it.

Young colleagues like Çağdaş Ulus should be in the field running after news stories, instead of in prison.

Turkey gets convicted one more time!
The International Court of Human Rights has ruled against Turkey one more time. Once again it is because of the issue of conscientious objection. The government had started an initiative on this issue recently, but was unable to enact the necessary reform. The court ruled against Turkey in the application of conscientious objector Mehmet Tarhan.

The court ruled that forcefully keeping Tarhan in a military prison and forcefully cutting his hair violated article three on humiliating treatment and article nine about freedom of thought and conscience. Some 12,000 euros will have to be paid from our taxes. Yet in fact it is the state, which has not changed the legal framework in accordance with the treaties it has signed, that is responsible for this situation. The state needs to act fast, otherwise we will continue to see “Turkey found guilty” headlines.

The fear of forensic medicine
I have previously mentioned the health condition of the former four star general Ergin Saygun. I said a murder was being committed. Forensic Medicine can not simply say that Ergin Saygun can not be treated in prison and should thus be sent to hospital.

Saygun’s heart functions stand at 30 percent, while his lungs function at 40 percent. He has 18 different medical problems and receives 25 different medications. He needs to be under continuous surveillance.

In its first report, Forensic Medicine said: “He can stay in prison if he can receive treatment there.” But the prison said it could not provide treatment.

When his condition deteriorated, he was hospitalized. After one month he received a report saying he could not stay in the infirmary and that he needed to be sent to the hospital.

The court then asked Forensic Medicine again. Yet, as if nothing had happened, Forensic Medicine sent the same initial report: “He can stay in prison if he can be treated, otherwise he should be hospitalized.”

Bravo! What are you afraid of? What is the reason for not giving a clear cut view to the court?
The ball is now again in the hands of the judges.

July/21/2012

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