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Turkey12 May 2009

Journalist held for past two weeks on suspicion of collaborating with armed group

Reporters Without Borders is outraged by the continuing detention of journalist Aylin Duruoglu without justification. Duruoglu, who edits the liberal daily Vatan’s website, gazetevatan.com, was picked up during a wave of arrests of suspected members of an outlawed armed organisation on 27 April.

“Duruoglu’s detention is unquestionably arbitrary, “Reporters Without Borders said. “She has been wrongly accused of terrorist activities. There is no evidence against her. In their determination to combat terrorism, the Turkish authorities end up wrongly arresting and convicting journalists. We demand her immediate release followed by the holding of a fair and impartial trial without delay.”

Duruoglu is being held on suspicion of collaborating with the Revolutionary Headquarters, an armed group on the Turkish list of terrorist organisations, because she knew one if its alleged members, writer and political activist Orhan Yilmazkaya. They studied together at Istanbul University and, as a journalist, Duruoglu attended the launch of one his books.

Duruoglu has been held in Istanbul’s Bakirköy prison since 30 April. On 8 May, the Istanbul prosecutor’s office rejected the request for her release that had been filed by her lawyer, Naime Kiliç. Vatan’s staff demonstrated outside the newspaper on 10 May, brandishing posters calling for her release.

Yilmazkaya was killed in a shootout with the police during the 27 April operation. He opened fire on police officers when they came for him in his apartment, where he was keeping weapons. NTV cameraman Ilhan Kandaz was hit in the ear during the shootout. A 16-year-old youth and a police superintendent were also killed in the operation.

Turkey is ranked 103rd out of 173 countries in the latest Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.




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