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Turkey2 August 2007

Istanbul police kidnap and beat newspaper editor

Reporters Without Borders today condemned the abduction and beating of journalist Sinan Tekpetek by police in the Istanbul district of Beyoglu on 26 July. Tekpetek, who edits the newspaper Yüzde 52 Ofke (52 Per Cent of Anger) gave an account of the attack at a news conference at the headquarters of the Human Rights Association (IHD) in Istanbul on 28 July.

“The violence described by Tekpetek is appalling, and those responsible must be identified, arrested and punished,” the press freedom organisation said. “It remains to be established whether his kidnapping and beating were linked to his work as a journalist or his role as a witness in an earlier case of police violence.”

Reporters Without Borders added: “It is vital that the authorities should intervene in this case. However you look it, this assault by those whose job is to protect citizens is unacceptable.”

Tekpetek told Reporters Without Borders: “I can imagine only two explanations for this attack. They did not tell me anything about their motives. They did not stop insulting me and telling me: ‘You are going to be killed.’ It could be linked to my work as a journalist or it could because in 2005 I gave evidence against two plain-clothes policemen who beat someone to the ground in Kadiköy [an Istanbul neighbourhood]. I and five other people gave evidence at the time in protest against the mistreatment of the victim. The authorities tried to prosecute us for resisting the police.”

Tekpetek went to see Beyoglu state prosecutor Enver Dikilitas on 31 July armed with a forensic medical certificate stating that two of his ribs were broken and that there were signs of other injuries. The Siyami Ersek hospital told him to take 20 days off work.

According to the Human Rights Association, there were 22 cases of police mistreatment in Beyoglu alone in the first six months of this year.

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