Lawyers for journalists Dicle Müftüoğlu and Sedat Yılmaz appealed to Turkey’s Constitutional Court over violations of rights and freedoms defined in domestic and international law.
Müftüoğlu, who chairs the Dicle Fırat Journalists Association, faces charges that stem from her journalistic activity, lawyer Resul Temur said in the appeal. According to the lawyer, Müftüoğlu’s arrest in April has been in violation of freedom of expression and press freedom, as well as the right to freedom and security. The Mezopotamya Agency editor is charged with terrorism, without concrete evidence and “based on secret witness testimony unrelated to the case”, he added.
Yılmaz was arrested in the same raid against several Kurdish journalists, and faced ill treatment during his detention, Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) said in their appeal for Yılmaz, another editor at Kurdish agency Mezopotamya.
Yılmaz and Müftüoğlu were held in handcuffs for 15 hours and deprived of food for a full 24 hours in police custody, the lawyers said in their appeals. The arrests came ahead of the crucial May elections in Turkey, and were politically motivated, they said.
The operation that resulted in the journalists’ arrest aimed to “render opposition media unable to function”, and criminalise news stories and content about Kurdish people, Temur said in Müftüoğlu’s appeal. “This criminalisation aims to disrupt the pluralistic atmosphere in Turkey’s opposition.”
While the journalists face terrorism charges, a confidentiality order on the case prevents lawyers from fully accessing the material thus preventing a just trial.
Both Müftüoğlu and Yılmaz remain behind bars, alongside several others among the 19 journalists arrested in the same raid.