RIGHTS >Media groups call for immediate release of French journalist arrested in Turkey


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Media groups have appealed for the immediate release of a French freelance journalist arrested in the southeastern province of Şırnak on terror charges while reporting there.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the European Federation of Journalists, and several journalist unions also asked the French government on Aug. 3 to do everything in its power to have Ankara free 27-year-old Loup Bureau, who has in the past worked for several news outlets.

“We call for Loup Bureau’s immediate release,” the head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk Johann Bihr said.

“We are extremely concerned about his imprisonment and the serious charges brought against him. He is just a journalist. We hope that the Turkish investigators will soon recognize this,” Bihr added.

The French Foreign Ministry also stated that it was paying “close attention” to Bureau’s situation and that its embassy is acting to give him “consular protection as quickly as possible.”

The Frenchman was detained on July 26 at the Habur border post after he crossed into the country from Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region. He is accused of “aiding and assisting a terrorist organization” with links to the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara considers a terror group linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). A local court ordered his arrest on Aug. 2 and he was sent to prison in Şırnak.

Judicial sources said the charges related to a report Bureau had written several years ago with the YPG in Syria.     

State-run Anadolu Agency reported that Bureau was found to have a video called “List of weapon distribution.”

Turkey previously deported another Frenchjournalist Mathias Depardon in June, a month after he was detained while on assignment for National Geographic magazine in Hasankeyf in the southeastern province of Batman.

Separately, the German Foreign Office stated on Aug. 3 that Berlin would “closely follow” the trial of journalist Meşale Tolu, which is set for Oct. 11 along with 17 other journalists.

Tolu was arrested on April 30, accused of “making terror propaganda” and “being a member of a terror organization.”

The German Foreign Office added that it was in close contact with Tolu’s lawyers and relatives.

Prior to that, an Istanbul court will decide on Aug. 22 whether to release Tolu in order to try her without arrest.


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