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Court releases journalist arrested over tweets on personal information leak

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A journalist who was jailed last week pending trial after he announced hackers had stolen personal information from government websites and shared some of it with him, including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ID card, as proof, has been released, his lawyer announced.

“My client İbrahim Haskoloğlu has just been released from jail based on our objections [to his arrest]. İbrahim is now free,” tweeted Emrah Karatay, the journalist’s lawyer.

In tweets earlier this month Haskoloğlu said a group of hackers had contacted him two months ago and told him they had obtained Turks’ personal information from government websites.

Haskoloğlu was arrested on April 19 after he posted the news on Twitter, illustrating it with a partially obscured photo of what he said was Erdoğan’s ID.

His lawyer said at the time that his client was arrested on a charge of illegally obtaining and disseminating personal information in his social media posts.

As well as sharing the purported photo of Erdoğan’s ID, Haskoloğlu also published an image of what he said was the ID card of Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency. Most of the information on the cards was concealed.

“The reason for his formal arrest was that he did not notify prosecutors,” Karatay said at the time, adding that Haskoloğlu had warned various authorities but no action was taken.

“He thought he had to warn people as a journalist and posted them. Now he’s arrested — that’s it,” Karatay said, adding that the police had searched Haskoloğlu’s house when he was detained.

Broadcaster NTV said the interior ministry had filed a complaint about Haskoloğlu after his posts, prompting an investigation by the İstanbul prosecutor’s office.

Turkey is one of the world’s top jailers of journalists, and mainstream media is controlled by people close to Erdoğan’s government, which denies accusations by human rights groups that it muzzles the media.

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