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İstanbul court arrests 12 journalists

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An İstanbul court has arrested 12 out of 13 journalists who were taken into custody on April 1 as part of an investigation into a July 15 coup attempt in Turkey.

“Second Penal Court of Peace has arrested [all] 12 journalists except Ali Akkuş,” tweeted academic and cyber-rights activist Yaman Akdemis, who is closely watching the case.

The 13 journalists — Ayrıca Atilla Taş, Ali Akkuş, Hüseyin Aydın, Murat Aksoy, Mustafa Erkan Acar, Seyid Kılıç, Yetkin Yıldız, Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, Yakup Çetin, Bünyamin Köseli, Cihan Acar, Abdullah Kılıç and Oğuz Usluer – have been in detention since April 1.

Twenty-one journalists who had been in pre-trial detention for eight months and were to be released pending trial on March 31 were arrested again early on April 1 without ever having been freed.

On April 1, an İstanbul court also accepted the motion of the prosecutor to reverse the decision for the release of journalists Hanım Büşra Erdal, Ahmet Memiş, Bayram Kaya, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Cuma Ulus, Habib Güler, Halil İbrahim Balta and Muhammet Said Kuloğlu.

A total of 29 journalists, most of whom have been in pre-trial detention for eight months, were accused of membership in a hoax terror organization called “FETÖ,” a pejorative acronym that Turkey’s political Islamist government has used to smear the civic Gülen movement as a “terrorist organization.”

The indictment revealed that they are accused of membership in a terrorist organization due to their stories, critical tweets and retweets in the absence of evidence of any violent activity or the means to engage in violence.

Prepared by İstanbul prosecutor Murat Çağlak, the indictment was submitted to the court on Jan. 16. After analyzing the indictment, TurkishMinute.com determined that there is not a single incident of terrorist activity on the part of any of the journalists as they are overwhelmingly being charged for their critical messages on Twitter.

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