Most of them journalists working for Dicle News Agency (DİHA), Özgür Gündem daily and dissident publications, 36 people have been arrested and sent to jail by an Istanbul court. They were taken under custody during the latest wave against the alleged pro-Kurdish organization KCK, last Tuesday. Suspects were interrogated at by the prosecutor's office on Friday, where seven among them were released.
Among the released suspects are Özgür Gündem daily editor Hatice Bozkurt, DİHA correspondent Evrim Kepenek, Gün print house employee Hamza Sürmeli, former DİHA employee Murat Eroğlu, AFP photographer Mustafa Özer, Ülfiye Özcan and Celal Kaya. They will be tried without arrest.
One of those released, journalist Arzu Demir wrote her experience for ETHA news agency. Briefly, she comments that the prosecution's allegations are ill-founded, lacking coherence while many events are made-up or simply distorted to support their view. Brief excerpts from his article:
* I was taken under custody at my home, early Tuesday. The police said "there is a warrant of arrest against you with regard to the investigation into the PKK/KCK terrorist organization."
* Given the progression of this investigation last two years, I had the impression that journalists were next in line. My part in this operation was my link to Roj TV and Fırat News Agency as a socialist journalist.
* We were held for three days at the Istanbul Police Counter Terrorism Unit. The police officers wanted to "chat" with us -the new discourse in police interrogation. Another new standard in political cases, the "secrecy" and "restrictions" on files were also present. Neither us not our lawyers were able to get information on the allegations against us.
* Early Friday morning our journey to the court house began. Prosecution's interrogations began at around 10.30 AM.
* I was asked about the trip to Germany in 2002, during a journalism programme organized by Heinrich Böll Stiftung and Independent Communication Network -of which bianet is a part of. Yet it was formulated as a visit to a PKK meeting in Northern Iraq. Neither the dates nor the content were coherent, so this accusation easily went away. Most of prosecution's evidence were formulated in this manner -our article notes were deemed as organizational documents and articles forced to be written by the PKK. Even police photos of us during the events we covered were regarded as evidence. Commenting on Roj TV were regarded as strong evidence. (EÜ)