Yet another journalist put behind bars in Turkey

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Journalist Reyhan Çapan

Managing editor of the now-closed Özgür Gündem daily, Reyhan Çapan, was put in prison on Friday to serve out a 15-month sentence handed down by an İstanbul court, the Mesopotamia news agency reported.

Çapan was detained in Artvin’s Hopa district following a routine police security check on Thursday.

The Özgür Gündem daily is among dozens of media outlets that were closed down by the Turkish government in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016.

Çapan was given a prison sentence of 15 months by an İstanbul high criminal court in March on charges of violating Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which concerns insulting “Turkishness,” the Turkish state and state organs, in several articles she wrote in 2015.

Çapan was sent to Artvin Prison.

Turkey is ranked 157th among 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). If Turkey falls two more places, it will make it to the list of countries on the blacklist, which have the poorest record in press freedom.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) show that 254 journalists and media workers were in jail as of May 8, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 192 were under arrest pending trial while only 62 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 142 journalists who are living in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the Turkish government also closed down some 200 media outlets, including Kurdish news agencies and newspapers, after a coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016.

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