Journalists arrested in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority Diyarbakır (Amed) during a wave of operations against pro-Kurdish circles ahead of the May elections have had their rights to communication and access to information restricted, the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) reported.
Imprisoned journalists Abdurrahman Gök and Mehmet Şah Oruç, who are currently held in Diyarbakır Prison, emphasised the challenges of obtaining newspapers, magazines, and other publications of their choice, during a visit by lawyer Fatih Aydın from the MLSA Legal Unit.
Gök stated that they only have access to television channels close to the ruling party and FM radio channels. “We are under isolation when it comes to obtaining information,” he told Aydın.
Gök also mentioned the confiscation of a letter he sent to another journalist because it mentioned detainees who had recently been tortured by law enforcement and arrived at the prison with broken facial bones.
Stating that his legal objection to the confiscation of the letter was rejected on the grounds of “trying to portray the government as torturers,” Gök said he would make an individual application to the Constitutional Court due to the violation of his communication rights.
The journalists also stressed that their common area rights in prison were arbitrarily reduced from the legally mandated ten hours to three hours due to security reasons and staff shortages and there have been arbitrary restrictions on visits.
Their arrests aimed to criminalise Kurdish journalism, according to Gök and Oruç. They said that all questions during their detention were related to their professional activities.
Gök and Oruç were arrested on 25 April and subsequently sent to prison awaiting trial.