Italy urges Turkey to release jailed reporter
ROME/HATAYItaly on April 19 called on Turkey to release a journalist arrested this month near the Syrian border while he was researching refugees.
Gabriele Del Grande, 34, was clapped in cuffs by Turkish police on April 9 during interviews with people who had fled the war-torn neighboring country for a book he is writing on the conflict and the origins of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The foreign ministry in Rome said in a statement that Del Grande had managed to speak to his relatives by telephone on April 18 but that “this is obviously not enough.”
European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, an Italian politician, also called for his immediate release.
“I call for the immediate release of #DelGrande and all journalists unjustly detained in Turkey. No democracy without freedom of expression,” Tajani tweeted.
Del Grande, who is also a blogger, writer and human rights activist, was detained at an identification center in the southern province of Hatay before being transferred to the southern province of Muğla, Italian media reported.
“My documents are in order, but I have not been able to nominate a lawyer, nor have I been told when I will be released,” he was quoted as telling his family.
Meanwhile, in a phone call with his wife Alexandra D’Onofrio on April 18, Del Grande said he was planning to go on a hunger strike, Doğan News Agency reported.
In the phone call, Del Grande also said he had not been harmed, but his telephone and other personal belongings had been confiscated and he had been “interrogated” on the content of his research.
He also called on “everyone to mobilize in order for his rights to be respected.”