Journalists enjoy first day of freedom after release

Journalists enjoy first day of freedom after release

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Journalists enjoy first day of freedom after release

Journalist Ahmet Şık (C) hugged his loved ones after his release from prison. ‘We are out, but around 100 journalists are currently [serving time] in prison,’ Şık said. AA photo

Upon release from prison on March 12, journalist Nedim Şener enjoyed his freedom by taking his daughter to school first thing in the morning yesterday.

“I missed taking my daughter to her school,” Şener told reporters as he was leaving prison Monday evening.

Journalists Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener, as well as columnists Sait Çakır and Coşkun Musluk, were released from prison late Monday evening, after having been held for over a year, for alleged connections to a terrorist network.

Speaking to journalists after their release, Ahmet Şık said there were still over 100 journalists behind bars in Turkey and that the court’s ruling would not immediately democratize the country by itself.
“Around 100 journalists are currently [serving time] in prison, but freedom of expression is not merely a problem for journalists in this country. There are currently about 600 university students [behind bars] and over 6,000 under arrest in the KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union) trials [...] We are going to keep waging this struggle,” Şık said.

“The police, prosecutors and judges who executed this conspiracy will later enter this prison. I make a vow for this,” he added.

Meanhile, both government and opposition figures have hailed the court’s decision to release Şık and Şener, while the spokesman for the European Union’s Enlargement Commission, Stefan Füle, expressed contentment regarding the verdict, according to the Doğan news agency.

Füle’s Spokesman Peter Stano also called for the amendment of clauses in the Turkish Penal Code and anti–terror laws restricting the freedom of speech and the right to a fair trial.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan, as well as Turkish EU Minister Egemen Bağış, expressed their satisfaction with the court’s decision.

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç also expressed contentment with the ruling, saying it was a source of chagrin that the journalists had to stay behind bars for 375 days. As the Oda TV case continued yesterday in Istanbul’s Çağlayan courthouse, opposition People’s Republican Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu also issued a written statement expressing his wish that the four journalists’ release would pave the way for the release of arrested deputies and others imprisoned for exercising their freedom of expression.