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Turkey5 February 2007

Far-left newspaper’s editor freed after five years in prison

Reporters Without Borders today hailed the release of Memik Horuz, the managing editor of the far-left newspaper Isçi Köylu, who was freed on 30 January after spending five years in Bolu prison, about 300 km from Istanbul.

“While welcoming Memik Horuz’s release, we will continue to press for an improvement in the situation of journalists in Turkey and we will continue to monitor press freedom there,” the organisation said.

Horuz was prosecuted because of a story published on 22 December 2000 about members of the Turkish Communist Party/Marxist-Leninist and the associated Workers and Peasants Liberation Army of Turkey, which the Turkish authorities regard as a terrorist organisation. The authorities regard him as its spokesman.

He was convicted of “belonging to an illegal organisation” on the basis of a former member’s testimony. Horuz is in good health although he had to endure harsh conditions while in prison and, of late, had to share a 12-square-metre cell with two other inmates.

Isçi Köylu was called Özgur Gelecek at the time when the offending article was published. It has a circulation of several thousand and is mainly read by the far-left group’s members and supporters. Married to Seza Horuz, a human rights activist, Horuz was imprisoned above all because of his political views.

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