Indictment levels terror charges at journalist who investigated coup attempt

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An indictment drafted by an İstanbul prosecutor for Ece Sevim Öztürk, an investigative journalist who has been behind bars since June, accuses the journalist of aiding a terrorist organization and disseminating the propaganda of a terrorist organization, the Hürriyet daily reported on Wednesday.

Öztürk, the editor-in-chief of the Çağdaşses news website, was detained on June 8 and arrested on June 20 shortly after the release of a documentary she shot about a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016. The documentary was titled, “The darkest day of the naval forces.”

The indictment has been accepted by the İstanbul 37th High Criminal Court.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the failed putsch or any terrorist activity.

Prosecutors allege in the indictment that Öztürk attempted to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the general and presidential elections held in Turkey on June 24 before and after the elections, tried to create social chaos in a bid to reinvigorate the Gülen movement and made efforts to save its jailed members from prison.

More than 50,000 people have been jailed in Turkey due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement in the aftermath of the coup attempt in a massive crackdown conducted by the Turkish government.

The indictment says that under the pretext of journalism, Öztürk posted messages on social media about the coup attempt and the coup trials to create a public perception in favor of the coup plotters.

Öztürk’s reporting on the coup attracted much attention on social media and was quoted by several news outlets in Turkey.

The first hearing in Öztürk’s trial is scheduled for Nov. 1.

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