Cumhuriyet - idag inleds rättegångens andra del

Idag, den 11 september 2017, fortsätter rättegången mot de fem journalister från redaktionen för den turkiska dagstidningen Cumhuriyet som fortfarande sitter fängslade på rättsvidriga grunder i Istanbul.

Svenska PEN följer utvecklingen och kräver att:

AHMET ŞIK – journalist, medarbetare (fängslades 30 december 2016)

AKIN ATALAY – advokat och styrelsemedlem (fängslades 12 november 2016)

EMRE İPER – revisor (fängslades 18 april 2017)

KADRİ GÜRSEL – krönikör och redaktionell rådgivare (fängslades 5 november 2016)

MURAT SABUNCU – chefredaktör (fängslades 5 november 2016)

med omedelbar verkan släpps fria.


Svenska PEN har den 31 augusti skickat följande brev till den turkiska ambassaden i Stockholm:

Stockholm, August 31, 2017


Dear Mr. Ambassador Kaya Türkmen

Swedish PEN is seriously concerned about news that the Swedish citizen Mr. ALI GHARAVI on July 5 was detained by the Turkish police on his visit to Büyükada, one of the prince islands near the city of Istanbul. His sole mission with this visit was to attend a conference and to give a lecture on security issues and human rights of which he is an internationally renowned and frequently consulted expert.

We are also deeply worried about the conditions under which Mr GHARAVI is held at the Silivri prison, where he is kept almost in isolation and having very few opportunities to communicate with his family. To date he has been allowed to speak to his wife no more than once for ten minutes after having been imprisoned.

It is quite clear that Mr GHARAVI had only legal and peaceful intentions with his attendance to the conference on Büyükada. Arresting a person who has participated in a completely legitimate conference – be it critical or not against the government in the country hosting it – is not acceptable in terms of international human rights. Swedish PEN therefore urges the Turkish government to:

Immediately and unconditionally release Mr GHARAVI, and drop all charges against him.

Let him return to his homeland at his own will and whenever wants to do so.

Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Turkey.

We also want to express our deepest concern regarding the arrest by Spanish authorities of the Swedish citizen Hamza Yalçın pursuant to an Interpol Notice issued by Turkey. Hamza Yalçın is a journalist and has lived in Sweden since 1984. He was detained at Barcelona’s airport on August 3, and the day after he was arrested by Spanish police on charges of ‘terror propaganda ‘ and ‘insulting the Turkish President‘.

The charges against Hamza Yalçın appear to be based on an article he published in Odak magazine, where he peacefully criticizes the Turkish government. On 18 March, Turkish prosecutors launched an investigation about Yalçın, Odak’s chief columnist and the coordinator for its Training and Solidarity Movement, and about Doğan Baran, the magazine’s managing editor, for the article ‘The Latest Developments in the Military and the Revolutionary Struggle’. Both men face charges for ‘insulting the President’ and ‘denigrating the military’.

We are deeply alarmed by the detention of Hamza Yalçın under charges that cannot conceal that he is in fact persecuted, by the government of Turkey, for his writing. In our opinion this is a clear violation of the fundamental right to freedom of expression.

Furthermore, we fully agree with the concern raised by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which in April 2017 noted that ‘Interpol and its Red Notice system have been abused by some member States… in order to repress freedom of expression or to persecute members of the political opposition beyond their borders’. The Parliamentary Assembly called on all member states of the Council of Europe to ‘refrain from carrying out arrests … when they have serious concerns that the notice in question could be abusive.

As representatives of a world-wide and highly respected organization, International PEN, who works for the protection of the fundamental right to freedom of expression and freedom of the press, we are deeply concerned about the present situation in Turkey, where more than 170 writers and journalists now are in prison. We would especially like to bring attention to the case of five imprisoned journalists from the newspaper Cumhuriyet:

AHMET ŞIK - Correspondent (Arrested since December 30, 2016)

AKIN ATALAY - Attorney and Executive Committee Member (Arrested since November 12, 2016)

EMRE İPER - Accountant (Arrested since April 18, 2017)

KADRİ GÜRSEL - Editorial Consultant (Arrested since November 5, 2016)

MURAT SABUNCU - Editor in Chief (Arrested since November 5, 2016)

Swedish PEN has been monitoring the case against Cumhuriyet closely and conclude that there is nothing in the indictment that refers to any form of criminal activity.

The trials that began on July 24, 2017 and focused solely on journalistic activities. The independent editorial policy was questioned; in our opinion this clearly shows that it was press freedom that was put on trial.

During the pre-trial detention period, the imprisoned journalists were kept in isolation and could only see their lawyers and families for one hour a week. Thus severely limiting their chances to prepare a legal defence. Their fundamental rights of freedom of expression and the right to a fair trial were violated.

Swedish PEN therefore urges the Turkish government to:

Immediately and unconditionally release: AHMET ŞIK, AKIN ATALAY, EMRE İPER, KADRİ GÜRSEL and MURAT SABUNCU.

Drop all charges against them.

Comply with the obligations in the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, ratified by Turkey, and respect the fundamental right to freedom of expression.

We believe in open dialogue and would kindly request a meeting with Mr. Ambassador at Your convenience, to discuss these matters. We look forward to hearing from You.


Yours sincerely,

Elisabeth Åsbrink, president Swedish PEN

Anna Livion Ingvarsson, Secretary General Swedish PEN

Sara Mannheimer, president Writers in Prison Committee Swedish PEN