Turkish journalist Ahmet Şık kept in isolation, says lawyer

Turkish journalist Ahmet Şık kept in isolation, says lawyer

Turkish journalist Ahmet Şık kept in isolation, says lawyer

AP photo

Prominent journalist Ahmet Şık has been kept in isolation in prison, according to his lawyer who recently visited him. 

Şık, who was arrested on Dec. 30, 2016, over several tweets and his articles for daily Cumhuriyet, was denied drinking water for three days and has not had access to the news, daily Cumhuriyet reported Jan. 6. 

After being arrested for making propaganda for the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) and outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Şık was sent to Metris prison, where he was prevented from meeting his lawyer, Can Atalay.

On Jan. 3, he was sent to Silivri Prison, where he was imprisoned in 2011 for laying bare the extent of the Gülenist movement’s infiltration into the police forces. Prosecutors now claim that he has been conducting propaganda for the same group despite his previous treatment at its hands.

Şık was denied drinking water for three days in Metris Prison, according to his lawyer. Atalay said he was refused bottled water, with authorities informing him that the cafeteria was closed, suggesting that he drink tap water instead. 

The journalist was finally able to drink clean water after being arrested and transferred to Silivri Prison, Atalay said.

“He was kept in isolation in Metris Prison. There was only a bed in the cell. He wasn’t given drinking water for three days and told that ‘the cafeteria was closed.’ The isolation practice has been ongoing in Silivri Prison,” Atalay told daily Cumhuriyet after meeting Şık on Jan. 5.

“He doesn’t have a television or a radio in his cell. He wasn’t given a newspaper or a book,” he added. 

Relaying that Şık did not know about the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attack on Reina on Jan. 1, which claimed a total of 39 lives, Atalay added that Şık was curious about “what is going on on the outside.” 

“Ahmet didn’t know about the Reina massacre that claimed 39 lives. He heard about something like an explosion from the prison guards, but couldn’t figure out what it was. He is curious about the outside. He asked me ‘What is happening?’ He wasn’t given a paper and pen at first. When he gave a request to stay with the other arrested Cumhuriyet members, his aforementioned needs were met. He walks a lot in his cell. His spirits are high,” he said. 

Şık and journalist Nedim Şener were jailed as part of the controversial Oda TV case in 2011. Both journalists spent more than a year in prison while awaiting trial before the publication of Şık’s book, titled “The Imam’s Army,” which focused on the organization Gülen’s followers within the police and the judiciary during the time when the movement and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) were close. The duo were eventually freed on March 12, 2012.

Ten people have been arrested in the “terrorism” investigation targeting Cumhuriyet.

Those arrested on Nov. 5, 2016 were Murat Sabuncu, the daily’s editor-in-chief, IPI Board Member Kadri Gürsel, caricaturist Musa Kart, and Cumhuriyet Foundation board members Güray Tekin Öz, Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Turhan Günay, Hakan Kara, Önder Çelik and Bülent Utku. The CEO of daily Cumhuriyet, Akın Atalay, was arrested on Nov. 12, 2016. 

The arrested figures are accused of committing crimes on behalf of the PKK and the Gülenist network.