Turkey27 November 2006
Two women journalists freed after being held for nine months
Reporters Without Borders today hailed the release of Evrim Dengiz and Nesrin Yazar, two women journalists working for the Kurdish news agency DIHA. An assize court in the southern city of Adana ordered their release on 21 November during the fifth hearing in their trial on a charge of collaborating with the outlawed Kurdish separatist organisation, the PKK.
Dengiz and Yazar had been held since 18 February, after police in Mersin claimed to have found Molotov cocktails inside their car as they were returning from covering a demonstration in support of Abdullah Öcalan, a PKK leader who has been in prison since 1999. A subsequent forensic report claimed they had substances intended to be used in making explosives, but this was always disputed by their lawyer.
The prosecutor’s office in Mersin initially accused them of “jeopardising the unity of the state and territorial integrity” and requested life sentences. The charge was changed in August to collaborating with the PKK, for which the maximum sentence is 10 years in prison.
At the latest hearing, the court was told that a new forensic report had concluded that the substances found in their car were not explosives. Although freed, the charge of collaborating with the PKK still stands. The next hearing is scheduled for 13 February.