Turkey puts dozens of journalists on trial

  1. Human rights activists charged with helping a terrorist organization. Prosecutors demand a sentence of 15 years in prison. The court free activists. Activists. Now go on trial. Amnesty Turkey's chairman Taner Kilic remains in custody.

Dozens of journalists are going on trial in Turkish courts this week on charges that human-rights groups allege are politically motivated.

Three separate trials involving 48 journalists are taking place this week, according to press-freedom organization Reporters Sans Frontieres.

The group – also known as Reporters Without Borders – condemned what it said were “baseless charges” against all of the journalists and issued a statement on October 27 calling for the immediate release of others currently detained.

Turkey is ranked 155th out of 180 countries in the RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index.

Turkey has arrested more than 50,000 people since a failed coup attempt last year, according to the Associated Press. The government has called the crackdown a means of dealing with alleged coup plotters – but academics, human-rights activists and more than 100 journalists have been caught up in the sweep, according to the Associated Press.

Turkey insists the arrests are related to alleged criminal activity. Human-rights organizations, however, say the moves are attempts to stifle press freedom and critique of the government.

Meanwhile, the director of Amnesty International Turkey and eight other human rights activists also are on trial in Turkey for alleged terror charges. The activists face up to 15 years in jail – they deny the charges.

Amnesty says the charges are “trumped up.”

 

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