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BIA report: 237 aggravated life sentences sought for 520 journalists in Turkey

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A recently released quarterly report, the BIA Media Monitoring Report, has revealed that 122 journalists were in Turkish jails as of Jan.1, 2018, while 520 journalists are facing 237 aggravated life sentences and an additional 3,672 years in prison on various charges.

The 520 journalists who are standing trial without pretrial detention also face the risk of going to jail.

The journalists are accused of such crimes as “taking part in a coup attempt,” “membership in a terrorist organization,” “disseminating terrorist propaganda,” “insulting the Turkish president” and “insulting state organs.”

The report covers the October-November-December 2017 period.

Out of the 122 journalists in jail, 79 are from media outlets affiliated with the Gülen movement and 24 are from Kurdish media outlets, while the remaining 19 are from various media organizations such as Cumhuriyet, Evrensel, Eylül Hapishane magazine, Sosyalist Dayanışma magazine, ETHA news agency, Emek-Adalet magazine and the German Die Welt newspaper.

The Gülen movement, whose dozens of media outlets were closed down by the Turkish government in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, is accused by the government of masterminding the putsch. The movement strongly denies any involvement.

Sixty-six of the journalists in jail are being tried, while 31 of them have not yet been indicted, according to BIA’s report. Twenty-one of the journalists in jail have been convicted, while four of them are waiting for the conclusion of their appeal against their conviction.

In the same period of 2016, there were 131 journalists in Turkey’s jails, 18 of whom had been convicted, while seven were being tried and 106 were undergoing an investigation.

Over the past three months, 17 journalists and media employees have been detained. Out of these 17 journalists, 10 were detained due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement and five were taken into custody as part of investigations into the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

In the same period of 2016, 41 journalists and media employees were detained, while the total number of detained journalists in 2016 was 201.

The BIA report also showed that a total of 46 journalists were fired or lost their jobs in the last quarter of 2017.This figure reached 10,000 in 2017 due to the closure of many media organizations in the aftermath of the coup attempt.

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