IPI urges Turkish journalists' release in alleged coup plot
VIENNA - Agence France-Presse
Crowd shows support for the detained journalists. DHA PhotoMedia watchdog IPI urged Turkey today to release prominent journalists detained over an alleged coup plot, slamming the country's treatment of reporters as "sad and shameful." The statement came a year after Turkish investigative reporter Nedim Şener and 12 others were arrested for allegedly aiding a shadowy group aiming to topple the Islamist-rooted government.
"We call on Turkey's authorities to immediately release Mr Şener and his co-defendants in the Oda TV case pending trial, and to ensure that their trial is fair and fully in line with international standards of due process," said IPI director Alison Bethel McKenzie.
"With more than 100 other journalists also imprisoned in Turkey and their human rights so completely denied, Mr Şener's unedifying situation is sadly and shamefully not an isolated case," IPI board member and BBC Scotland director Ken MacQuarrie added in the statement. Şener and his co-defendants, whose trial began in November, face charges of helping Ergenekon, a group accused of plotting assassinations and bombings to throw Turkey into chaos and trigger a military coup against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Authorities say the nationalist news website Oda TV, with which the journalists were allegedly connected, was the media wing for the plot, IPI said. Şener and his co-defendants in the case, which has sparked international concern about freedom of expression in Turkey, face up to 15 years in jail if convicted.