Jailed journalist Gündem to appear in court for first time in 9 months

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Journalist Mehmet Gündem.

Jailed journalist Mehmet Gündem, who was arrested in November 2017 on terror charges, will appear in court for the first time in the nine months of his imprisonment.

Gündem, who used to work as a columnist for the Milliyet daily, was detained on Nov. 1, 2017 along with 44 colleagues as part of an operation against the Journalists and Writers’ Foundation (GYV), which was closed down in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016 over alleged affiliation with the faith-based Gülen movement.

The Turkish government accuses the movement of masterminding the failed coup, although the movement strongly denies any involvement.

Gündem was subsequently arrested by a court on charges of membership in a terrorist organization as the Turkish government labels the Gülen movement as such.

An indictment against the journalists seeks a prison sentence for him of between seven-and-a-half and 15 years on terror charges.

Gündem, who is currently jailed in Silivri Prison, will for the first time appear in court, the İstanbul 35th High Criminal Court, on Aug. 14, since his arrest.

The journalist was recently visited by lawyers from the P24 Independent Journalism Foundation and completed a questionnaire that aims to expose the problems faced by jailed journalists in the country.

To a question asking whether he was ever visited by a member of parliament, Gündem said “No.”

He said a ban on writing and receiving letters imposed on him by the prison administration was recently lifted.

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