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Turkish court rules for arrest of 10 activists, 2 journalists

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A Turkish court on Wednesday ruled for the arrest and pretrial detention of 10 pro-Kurdish and leftist activists and two journalists in İstanbul, the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) reported.

All 12 were detained by Turkish police on Oct. 19 in an operation on members of the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP), the Federation of Socialist Youth Clubs (SGDF) and the Law Office of the Oppressed (EHB).

An editor and a correspondent for the Etkin News Agency (ETHA) were also detained. ETHA editor İsminaz Temel, ETHA correspondent Havva Cuştan and the others appeared before a judge on Wednesday.

The court ruled to arrest all of them and remanded them to pretrial detention.

The arrestees are Temel, Cuştan, Özgen Sadet, Onur Binbir, Hünkar Yurtseven, İlhan Aslan, İsmail Geçkin, Özlem Gümüştaş, Avukat Sezin Uçar, Erkan Kakça, Meral Tatar and Mazlum Demirtaş.

ETHA last Friday had demanded that Turkish authorities release its editor Temel and reporter Cuştan, who were detained on Thursday. The two journalists were among 16 people detained on Thursday morning in İstanbul.

ETHA said in a written statement that “police with ski masks stormed the houses of our employees and wrote ‘The Grey Wolves were here’ on the walls, just like what was done in the wake of massacres in the Sur, Nusaybin, Cizre districts of southeastern Anatolia. They plundered their houses and burned their press cards.”

Underlining that raids were also conducted on the houses of employees of JinNews and the Mezopotamya news agency and five journalists were detained, ETHA stated that “they, just like all illegitimate political authorities, want to silence the media outlets and their employees who voice the demands of the oppressed.”

Bianet had reported that 20 houses were raided during the police operations. Two lawyers and two journalists were among the detainees.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by SCF show that 259 journalists and media workers were in jail as of Oct. 17, most in pre-trial detention. Of those in prison, 235 are under arrest pending trial, while 24 have been convicted. Detention warrants are outstanding for 133 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after a failed coup on July 15, 2016.

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