The case against journalists will be brought before Constitutional Court

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  • 10:23 30 October 2020
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VAN - The attorneys of 4 journalists, who were arrested after breaking the story of the dropping of 2 villagers from a military helicopter in Çatak, will apply to the Constitutional Court upon the rejection of the appeal against their imprisonment.

Mesopotamia Agency (MA) reporters Adnan Bilen and Cemil Uğur and Jinnews reporter Şehbiran Abi and journalist Nazan Sala, who broke the story of the two villagers thrown from a military helicopter by the soldiers carrying out an operation in the Çatak district of Van on September 11, were detained on October 6 and arrested by the court on October 9.The journalists were arrested on grounds that they 'made news or interviews about social incidents against the state'.
The lawyers of the journalists appealed to the Van 3rd Criminal Court of Peace regarding their arrest and stated that there was no concrete evidence regarding the allegation of "being a member of a terrorist organization" in the file. However, the appeal was rejected by the court on October 16th.
Barış Oflas, one of the attorneys of the journalists who evaluated the rejection of the objection, stated that their appeal to the Van 1st Criminal Court of Peace was also rejected. Oflas said, "Van 1st Criminal Court of Peace considered being a reporter for the free press a crime and made a decision to protect the unlawfulnesses of the government and the law enforcement."
Emphasizing that the criminalization of journalism is against universal principles, Oflas said: "Journalism and all the news done by journalists are social. There is no non-social news. These allegations and the grounds on their arrests puts everyone in a spot where they can be deemed criminals, and it marginalizes journalism. The grounds on their arrests is against the principle of the presumption of innocence as it violates both domestic laws and the articles of  European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) that guarantee freedom of press and thought".
Stating that accusing the journalist of 'being a member of a terrorist organization' is an 'abuse of rights', Oflas said: "This is a case against journalism. Free press can not be considered a crime. Since the decision made by the Van 1st Criminal Court of Peace is final, we will apply to the Constitutional Court (AYM) in terms of the violations of rights caused by the arrest."

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