Indictment accuses jailed young journalist of ‘subjective reporting’

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An indictment for former Zaman journalist Ayşenur Parıldak levels charges against her for writing “subjective stories” as well as for her Twitter messages.

The TR724 new site on Tuesday published an exclusive report on the indictment, which accuses Parıldak, a 27-year-old court reporter in Ankara for the now-shut-down Zaman daily, of criticizing judges and prosecutors although no such crime exists in the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).

The prosecutor fails to mention which “subjective and one-sided” story Parıldak is accused of writing, another “crime” that is not included in the TCK.

Parıldak was arrested on Aug. 11, 2016 on the Ankara University School of Law campus, where she was also studying law. The indictment justifies her arrest on the grounds that she would have fled Turkey after her exams. However, as TR24 reported, Parıldak, even after a failed coup on July 15, shared her whereabouts on social media.

Parıldak had written a letter to Cumhuriyet, one of the few critical dailies left in Turkey, from Silivri Prison, talking about solitary confinement and sexual harassment, which led to a ban on letters being sent from that prison.

TR724 reported that Parıldak’s solitary confinement partially ended after 80 days in prison, although she must still spend time alone from 5 p.m. until morning.

Parıldak is also accused of being followed by an anonymous whistleblower on Twitter named Fuat Avni. The well-known user, who provided tips on corruption and unlawful government actions, was followed by over 2 million people and followed 180 people who are not being prosecuted on similar charges.

Parıldak, who started journalism as an intern at the now-closed-down liberal Taraf daily in 2011, also stands accused for this period of time since the prosecutor asserts that the Taraf daily worked for the interests of the Gülen movement, claimed by the government to be a terrorist organization. The daily was managed by Markar Esayan, currently a deputy from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), who is free of any terrorism allegations, unlike Parıldak.

The prosecutor has in addition leveled accusations against Parıldak of tweeting in support of the coup. Her retweet of a message on independent news portal P24 is also included among the “evidence” in the indictment.

Banking transactions made by the young journalist’s father are also used against her in the indictment. The transfer by Parıldak’s father of TL 1,933 to a school in the US is also cited as evidence despite the lack of any activity supporting “terrorism.”

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