In the second hearing of the ongoing trial of Dicle Fırat Journalists’ Association (DFG) Co-chair Dicle Müftüoğlu, the court on Thursday decided to extend the Kurdish journalist’s detention.
Facing terrorism charges, Müftüoğlu has been awaiting trial under arrest for the last nine months, and will remain behind bars until 29 February when the next hearing will be held.
Müftüoğlu was arrested on 3 May 2023, World Press Freedom Day, during a series of operations against Kurdish opposition circles in Turkey, which resulted in the detention of several journalists, activists and lawyers.
Representatives of various journalists’ associations and several journalists attended Thursday’s trial, which was delayed by almost three hours.
During the trial, Müftüoğlu emphasised that the charges against her were related to her journalistic activities. She argued that the charges were unfounded and that her work with the Mezopotamya Agency and the DFG, both legitimate associations, was neither illegal nor organisational. She claimed that the testimonies lacked credibility and maintained her innocence.
“Prosecuting a journalist for her news is a threat to journalists. Journalism is not a crime,” she said.
Resul Temur, Müftüoğlu’s legal representative, argued that the challenges faced by Kurdish journalists in Turkey stem from censorship. He pointed out that 30 journalists faced similar charges last year, with Müftüoğlu the only one still in prison. Temur called for her immediate release.
Lawyer Veysel Ok, co-director of the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA), criticised the trial, arguing that there were numerous irregularities in the case. He said the court had accepted the prosecutor’s indictment without a thorough investigation.
Following the hearing, journalists’ associations issued a press statement accusing Turkey of using judiciary measures to suppress journalistic activities.
“We all saw it in the courtroom. Everyone, including the judge, knows that Dicle is innocent,” said DFG co-chair Serdar Altan. However, according to Altan, her release was postponed with a hostile attitude.