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Turkey releases reporter jailed by text message

Baris Pehlivan

Journalist Barış Pehlivan

A Turkish court on Friday released a reporter who was controversially ordered to return to prison by text message three months ago, Agence France-Presse reported.

Barış Pehlivan from the Cumhuriyet newspaper has been jailed on various charges five times in the past three years.

The 40-year-old’s lawyer said Pehlivan walked out of İstanbul’s Marmara Prison after the latest case against him was dropped.

Pehlivan was charged with insulting a public official over a book in which he accused former interior minister Süleyman Soylu of links to organized crime.

He was ordered to return to jail by text message in August and then formally sentenced to three years behind bars.

Pehlivan had spent eight months in prison in 2020 for reporting on the funeral of a member of the MİT intelligence service who was operating in Libya.

He and six other reporters were charged with revealing state secrets although the MİT member’s death was never officially denied.

He also spent one day behind bars in February and in May of this year in cases linked to his work.

Turkey is ranked 165th out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders’ latest press freedom index.

Media monitors say that more than a dozen reporters have been jailed in Turkey this year.

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