Solitary confinement ends in Balbay’s cell

Solitary confinement ends in Balbay’s cell

ISTANBUL - DoğanNews Agency
Solitary confinement ends in Balbay’s cell

Republican People’s Party deputy and columnist for daily Cumhuriyet Mustafa Balbay has been in jail since March 2009 and was kept alone for more than one year. Hürriyet photo

Authorities moved Barış Pehlivan, a suspect arrested pending trial in the ongoing Oda TV probe, to the cell next to that of jailed main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Mustafa Balbay April 9, effectively ending Balbay’s solitary confinement after more than one year.

 “My solitary confinement is over, but isolation conditions still apply. Barış and I established a new order for living in two hours. We are going to begin waiting for freedom and justice together,” Balbay, a CHP deputy from İzmir, told journalists in a one-page memo issued via his lawyers.

Balbay has been in jail since March 5, 2009, and has been held in solitary confinement for more than one year. He shared a ward with fellow-prisoner Tuncay Özkan until authorities separated them on Feb. 28, 2011. Coşkun Musluk, another Oda TV suspect, was assigned to Balbay’s ward on March 2, 2012, but Balbay was again left in solitary confinement upon Musluk’s release on March 12.

“I feel uneasy about the currency my arrest has gained due to my prison conditions. I want justice and liberty. They brought [Pehlivan] into the isolation ward where I reside at about 11:00 p.m.,” Balbay’s memo read.

The prison warden and several other officials paid a visit to his cell around 9:00 p.m. on April 9, Balbay said, and told him they would definitely be moving a person onto his ward to keep him company.

The case regarding Oda TV, an online news portal known for its fierce criticism of government policies, began after police conducted a search of the website’s offices in February 2011 as part of the ongoing Ergenekon investigation.The Ergenekon case is investigating an alleged coup plot that allegedly aimed to topple the government by fomenting chaos in society.