3 more journalists arrested in Turkey

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Three of six journalists who were detained in an operation on Dec. 25 were arrested by an İstanbul court, after 24 days under detention, with already more than 145 journalist behind bars in Turkey.

A court ruled for the arrest of DİHA news manager Ömer Çelik, one of the editors of the Diken news portal, Tunca Öğreten, and the Birgün daily’s accounting supervisor Mahir Kanaat, while releasing DİHA reporter Metin Yoksu, the Etkin News Agency’s Derya Okatan and the Yolculuk daily’s Eray Sargın on probation.

The journalists were charged with membership in a terrorist organization.

Police teams detained the six journalists during simultaneous raids in İstanbul and Diyarbakır.

Okatan has been on a hunger strike for 23 days.

Before the referral of the six journalists to court, their colleagues met in front of the İstanbul Courthouse where they issued a press statement demanding the release of the detained journalists.

Due to a state of emergency which went into effect in Turkey following a failed coup attempt on July 15, the period of detention has been increased to 30 days from four days.

The journalists were reportedly subject to police violence. According to a report by the Dihaber news agency, police teams raided Çelik’s house in Diyarbakır’s Kayapınar district, and as soon as the family opened the door, Çelik’s mother and wife were made to lie on the floor.

One of the officers reportedly dragged Çelik to the living room and began beating him while shouting: “You report the news, huh! Come on, write a report now. You are an Armenian b*stard. Come on, write a report now.”

In the meantime, another officer reportedly pointed a gun at Çelik’s mother and asked her: “Why did you make your son a journalist? Why did you permit it?”

After almost half an hour of abuse, the police handcuffed Çelik and took him to police headquarters. They also confiscated the mobile phones of all present as well as books and flash cards. Cumhuriyet reported that a confidentiality order has been imposed on the case.

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