January 27, 2016 - Updated on March 8, 2016

RSF condemns “culpable” life sentence request for two journalists

Türkçe / Read in Turkish Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the “culpable cruelty” of the public prosecutors who have requested “aggravated life sentences” for Cumhuriyet editor Can Dündar and Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gül in an indictment submitted to an Istanbul criminal court today. The court is expected to lose little time in approving the indictment and setting a date for the trial of the two journalists, who have been detained for the past two months. “By giving credence to the extremely grave accusations against Can Dündar and Erdem Gül, accusations that are completely absurd, the public prosecutor’s office has demonstrated its lack of independence,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “We call on the Istanbul court to save the Turkish judicial system’s reputation by rejecting this ridiculous indictment.” The two Cumhuriyet journalists are charged with divulging state secrets for the purposes of espionage, trying to overthrow the government and helping a terrorist organization. The prosecutors have requested an aggravated life sentence (with no possibility of a pardon), a second life sentence and a 30-year jail sentence for each of the two journalists. Dündar and Gül were arrested on 26 November as a result of the accusations made against them by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the head of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), Hakan Fidan, after they published evidence of MİT arms deliveries to Islamist groups in Syria. The justice ministry has meanwhile rejected a request by a coalition of nine international NGOs including RSF to visit the two imprisoned journalists in Silivri high security prison. Representatives of the coalition went to the prison entrance today to protest against the refusal and to demand their immediate release. Sign the petition: “President Erdogan, free the Cumhuriyet journalists!”