CHP tables bill on trial of journalists without arrest

CHP tables bill on trial of journalists without arrest

CHP tables bill on trial of journalists without arrest

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Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has tabled a bill for the termination of trials without arrest related to crimes committed through printed work and other crimes predicted in Turkish Press Law.

The bill drafted by CHP deputy chair Sezgin Tanrıkulu and presented to parliament on Dec. 7 outlined amendments to the Turkish Press Law. 

The bill obliged judicial authorities to act harmoniously with related clauses in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and case laws by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in such cases.

The proposal evoked Article 26 of the Turkish Press Law’s Article 26 on “trial periods,” which states: “It is essential that cases of crimes entailing the use of printed work or other crimes mentioned in this law should be opened within a period of four months for daily periodicals and six months for other printed work.”

Tanrıkulu, however, recalled that despite the mentioned article, Cumhuriyet Editor-in-Chief Can Dündar and Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gül were arrested on Nov. 26 for their report on weapons-filled Turkish intelligence trucks bound for Syria in early 2014, a news report which was printed six months ago.

Dündar and Gül’s arrest was in violation of the right to a fair trial which was assured by the ECHR and the arrest decision given despite this provision of the ECHR unfolded the government’s constraint over the press, Tanrıkulu said, underlining that 29 journalists were currently imprisoned, either convicted or under detention.

Constraining the press meant constraining the democratic state governed by the rule of law, he said. “Our country has fallen down to 149th in a list of 180 countries on freedom of the press. It is a sign showing that we are drifting through disaster on democracy and liberty,” he said.