Turkey: The IFJ-EFJ call for acquittal of Özgür Gündem guest editors

[UPDATED, 17TH JULY] The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ) call on the Turkish court to acquit journalist Erol Önderoğlu, facing a 14 years and six months in jail over "terror propaganda".

Credits: Bianet

Erol Önderoğlu was charged because of his participation in 2016 as temporary editor-in-chief to the production of Özgür Gündem daily newspaper as part of the Editors in Chief on Watch campaign. The verdict is expected on 17 July.

The Editors in Chief on Watch was a solidarity action organised from May to August 2016 by the now-closed Özgür Gündem newspapera pro-Kurdish publication subjected to multiple investigations and lawsuits. Önderoğlu was one of the 56 prominent journalists and activists who acted as 'editor for the day' and published three articles in the daily on 18 May 2016. The campaign was intended to draw attention to the Turkish authorities’ long-standing attempts to put pressure on the publication and its journalists.

Reporters Without Borders representative in Turkey is being tried alongside Şebnem Korur Financı (President of Turkey Human Rights Foundation) and Ahmet Nesin (journalist and author). During the previous hearing, the prosecutor requested the imprisonment of the three editors-in-chief on charges of “inciting the committing of crimes,” “praising crime and criminals” and “conducting propaganda for a terrorist organisation”.

"No progress has been made all through the trial process. All in all, we have given two and a half years of our lives to an indictment hastily prepared in one day," Erol Önderoğlu said back in April.

Two weeks ago, Erol Önderoğlu has been charged with “terrorist propaganda” in another case for supporting the 2016 civil disobedience campaign Academics For Peace. This trial will start on 7th November.

The IFJ, together with its affiliates and press freedom organisations, has been denouncing the ongoing detention and prosecution of journalists in Turkey as an autocratic attempt to silence all dissenting voices.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: "We stand united in support of our colleagues in the face of these groundless accusations. The Turkish authorities will always face vocal international condemnation when they attack press freedom and the fundamental rights of journalists".

[UPDATE, 17H JULY] On this day the court dropped all the charges and acquitted Erol Önderoğlu, Şebnem Korur Financı and Ahmet Nesin.

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

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