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French journalist awaiting deportation begins hunger strike

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French photojournalist Mathias Depardon, who was detained on May 8 after photographing the local scenery in Turkey’s southeastern Batman province and is waiting for his deportation from Turkey, has been on a hunger strike for three days, according to the Turkey branch of Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Depardon, who was accused of disseminating the propaganda of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on social media, was released by a Turkish court last week. Following the court decision Depardon was taken to the Gaziantep Immigration Authority in the Oğuzeli district of Gaziantep province for deportation. However, the journalist has been waiting for his deportation in a cell for 15 days.

 Twitter message posted by the Turkey branch of RSF on Tuesday said: “French journalist Mathias Depardon who is being kept in an immigration center in Gaziantep for 15 days has been on a hunger strike for three days. This arbitrary situation must be ended.”

Depardon is an İstanbul-based documentary freelance photographer and frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal and Le Monde.

Pressure on foreign journalists in Turkey has been mounting in recent years, with the government, pro-government journalists and government trolls on social media directly targeting them.

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