A Turkish court in Ankara released nine journalists from Kurdish media outlets at their first hearing on Tuesday of the trial in which 12 journalists face terrorism charges citing their journalistic activities.
The court decided to continue the detention of Hamdullah Bayram while ordering the release of all other imprisoned journalists under judicial control.
“I am a woman, a Kurd and a journalist,” said all-female agency JinNews reporter Öznur Değer in her defence that she made in Kurdish, “The reason I am here is because of these three identities.”
Ten of the 12 journalists from Mezopotamya Agency and JinNews have been in pre-trial detention since October 2022, and the indictment against them was written up some three and a half months after their initial arrest.
The court previously rejected an appeal by the journalists’ lawyer for their release, on the grounds that the defendants were “strongly suspected” of having committed a crime. It also said there was “concrete evidence” that the journalists were at flight risk as they were facing serious charges and they had been behind bars for a long time.