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Turkey11 July 2008

Judge decides to hold provincial newspaper editor for another month

Reporters Without Borders condemns a decision by a court in Gerger, in the southeastern province of Adiyaman, to keep Haci Bogatekin, the editor of the local fortnightly Gerger Firat, in prison for another 30 days on charges of insulting and defaming local prosecutor Sadullah Ovacikli and trying to influence the course of a trial. When he next appears before a judge, on 30 July, he will have been held for 110 days.

“This decision is outrageous,” Reporters Without Borders. “It is a parody of justice. “Given the charges against him, there are absolutely no grounds for detaining this journalist, let alone extending his detention for such a long time. No grounds aside from a political will.”

The Gerger court issued its decision on 30 June, when neither Ovacikli nor local police official Aydin Onat, another witness for the prosecution, turned up for the hearing that had been scheduled for that day. The judge ruled that Bogatekin would have to remain in detention until the next hearing, set for 30 July, because he could otherwise try to pressure witnesses.

Ovacikli initiated legal proceedings against Bogatekin after he published an article in January condemning the failure of the authorities to react growing a religious community’s growing influence.

Previous releases on Haci Bogatekin :

-  2.07.2008 - Newspaper editor in southeast to serve 18 months in prison
-  27.06.2008 - Investigation report into the detention of journalist Haci Bogatekin, imprisoned for more than two months and facing ten and a half years in prison

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