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CPJ: Investigation, threats against freed Turkish journalists

CPJ - Committee to Protect Journalists - Fri, 23 Mar 2012 12:36 GMT
Author: CPJ
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March 22, 2012 Turkish authorities must immediately dismiss the new criminal investigation against journalist Ahmet ??k and should thoroughly investigate threats made against ??k and investigative journalist Nedim ?ener, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On March 12, ??k and ?ener were released from prison on bail for the duration of their ongoing trial, according to news reports. The journalists were charged with participating in the purported Ergenekon antistate plot and had already remained in prison for more than a year, according to news reports. Special Authority Public Chief Prosecutor Muammer Akka? launched a new investigation against ??k shortly after his release, according to the independent online news agency Bianet, although Can Atalay, a member of ??k's defense team, told CPJ today that the journalist had not yet received an official notification of legal action. The new investigation against ??k accused him of allegedly "threatening and identifying judges and prosecutors as targets for terror organizations" in his statement to journalists upon his release from prison, Bianet reported. ??k had told the press that day: "Incomplete justice is not going to bring justice and democracy. About one hundred journalists are still in prison. ... The police officers, prosecutors, and judges who plotted and carried out this complot will go to prison. Justice will come when they enter this prison," according to news reports. Four days after ??k and ?ener were released from prison, unknown individuals posted threats against them on Twitter. On March 16, someone posting under the name Faiz Dü?man? (Enemy of Interest) tweeted: "Attention, attention... I warn the government... The Ergenekon Terror Organization is planning to assassinate Ahmet ??k and Nedim ?ener." The Twitter post then said the assassination would be blamed on the Fethullah Gülen, a powerful religious brotherhood close to Prime Minister Recep Tayyp Erdo?an and his Justice and Development Party (AKP). CPJ confirmed that the user's Twitter account is no longer available. "In launching yet another politicized investigation against Ahmet ??k, Turkish authorities are demonstrating their determination to criminalize dissent," CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. "We call on authorities to use their resources instead to investigate the criminal threat against ??k and Nedim ?ener and to ensure their safety." Also, on Wednesday, Erdo?an sought to link journalists who cover Kurdish separatist issues with the separatists themselves. In comments directed at those journalists, made at a meeting of the ruling AKP, the prime minister said: "Do you have ears? Are you deaf? ... How long will you make common cause with those who endeavor to turn an easeful country into a restless country?" "We are deeply concerned by Prime Minister Erdo?an's intemperate statements concerning journalists," Ognianova said. "Coming from his high office, they are equivalent to instructions to his subordinates to crack down on the independent media." Copyright 2012 by Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). All worldwide rights reserved

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