Turkey urged to release Kurdish journalist
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A joint statement signed by 54 organizations on Wednesday strongly urged Turkish authorities to immediately release imprisoned Kurdish journalist Nedim Türfent and overturn his conviction.
“Today marks 2000 days since he was arrested and subsequently sentenced to eight years and nine months in prison on trumped-up terrorism charges following an unfair trial, during which scores of witnesses said they had been tortured into testifying against him,” the Turkish non-profit organization Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) said in a statement.
Türfent was detained in May 2016, shortly after he reported on the ill-treatment of Kurdish workers by Turkish police. He was a news editor and reporter for the pro-Kurdish Dicle News Agency (DİHA), which has been shut down.
He was charged with “membership of a terrorist organization” and spent almost two years in solitary confinement. He was sentenced to eight years and nine months in prison on Dec. 15, 2017. The Court later approved that sentence of Cessation on May 9, 2020.
“Nedim has been punished for his journalism which should have been awarded. The injustices that Nedim faces are injustices the majority of Kurdish journalists face in Turkey,” said Murat Kök, Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) Project and Communications Coordinator, in the statement.
“That is why we call on every person and institution that sincerely stands for freedom of expression to stand with Nedim.”
According to Freedom House, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has pursued a crackdown on perceived opponents since an attempted coup in 2016.
As a result, Turkey has been listed as ‘Not Free’.
There are 37 journalists in jail in Turkey, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
Freedm House also noted that Kurdish journalists, in particular, have been disproportionately targeted by the authorities.