Turkey seizes passport of veteran journalist Hasan Cemal

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Journalist Hasan Cemal speaks during 10th International Conference on the EU, Turkey & the Kurds on December 4, 2013 at European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium. Dursun Aydemir - Anadolu Agency

Turkish authorities seized the passport of prominent journalist Hasan Cemal, 75, due to a travel ban recently imposed on him as he was about to travel to Berlin from İstanbul on Sunday afternoon, BBC Turkish reported. 

Cemal told BBC that the reason for the travel ban was a case launched against him on terrorism charges, adding that his lawyer had petitioned the İstanbul 24th High Criminal Court for the removal of the ban. Later on Monday, the court ruled to revoke the restriction.

Cemal said he was asked to sign a judicial document at the airport which revealed that the travel ban was imposed on him on Nov.11.

Cemal faces nine years in prison on charges of terrorist propaganda due to an article he wrote for the T24 news website in 2015. The journalist is accused of supporting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in his column, which has been waging a bloody war in Turkey’s Southeast since 1984.

Cemal is known for his support for the peaceful resolution of Turkey’s decades-long Kurdish problem and his criticism of the government for use of force and military power to solve the Kurdish issue. The Turkish government has revoked the passports of tens of thousands of Turks through government decrees issued during a state of an emergency that was declared in the aftermath of a coup attempt in July 2016.

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