An Istanbul court on Wednesday released investigative Turkish journalist Uğur Sağındık, who has been pre-trial detention since April 27, 2018, into house arrest, the tr724 news website reported.
According to the report, Sağındık was accused of membership in the Gülen movement, which was declared a terrorist organization by the Recep Tayyip Erdogan government following a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
Eight of Sağındık’s tweets that question the failed coup attempt and criticize a purge, detentions and witch hunt carried out by the government targeting critics, including journalists, were listed as evidence of membership in a terrorist organization.
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 237 journalists and media workers were in jail as of Aug. 15, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 169 were under arrest pending trial while only 68 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 145 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 government also closed down some 200 media outlets, including Kurdish news agencies and newspapers, after the 2016 coup attempt.