Journalists Adnan Bilen and Cemil Uğur, who were arrested for covering the torture of two Kurdish villagers by Turkish soldiers, have spoken to Mesopotamia News Agency after being released from prison.
Mesopotamia Agency (MA) reporters Bilen and Uğur, as well as Zeynep Durgut, Jin News reporter Şehriban Abi and another journalist, Nazan Sala, were arrested for reporting the torture of two Kurdish villagers – Osman Şiban and Servet Turgut – who had been detained by Turkish military officers and were then reportedly thrown from a military helicopter in Turkey’s eastern province of Van (Wan).
Four journalists were kept behind bars for six months and then released by a court in Van on 2 April.
Bilen said that they had been expecting an operation against their agency. “The news regarding the two citizens who were thrown from a helicopter created great attention among the public in both Turkey and around the world. During that time, MA announced very important news to the world. When the police said that the Mesopotamia News Agency will not be allowed to enter HDP marches, we already understood that we were targeted and that a detention operation would be carried out.” He added that “Targeting a news agency is against press freedom.”
Cemil Uğur revealed that the police started listening to their phone calls seven months before they were arrested. “They were recording our news and following us instead of investigating what happened to the two villagers. The judiciary arrested us unlawfully to cover up the incident. Regarding the indictment, all allegations relate to legitimate journalistic activity,” he said.