Turkey30 March 2004
Police brutally beat nine journalists
Reporters Without Borders has protested after police beat nine journalists who were covering the crushing of a demonstration against fraud in local elections in south-eastern Diyarbakir. Three journalists needed hospital treatment.
The journalists, who were beaten with clubs and chains, were only doing their job, said the international press freedom organisation, condemning such practices. It called on interior minister, Abdulkadir Aksu, to do everything possible to identify and punish those who carried out the abuses.
Activists of the pro-Kurd Democratic People’s party (DEHAP) had gathered around the Divarbakir court house at the close of polling at around 11pm on 28 March, accusing the security forces of rigging the elections. Police set about violently dispersing the demonstrators, then attacking journalists covering the clashes.
Those attacked were: cameraman Hakim Cetiner of national TV networks SKY Turk and Show TV; Saban Boz, journalist with Show TV; Besir Ariz, Faysal Karadeniz, Ahmet Bulut and Bayram Bulut, of the local daily Soz and local Soz TV; Mehmet Sirin Hatman, cameraman for the pro-Kurd press agency Dicle Haber Ajansi (DIHA); Bahire Karatas, reporter with DIHA and Firat Duzgun, of local Gun TV.
Mehmet Sirin Hatman, Saban Boz and Bahire Karatas were taken to hospital for treatment. Hatman and Bayram Bulut were left with broken arms. Police also damaged their cameras and tried to seize film from the journalists.