PEN tells Council of Europe journalists jailed in Turkey are not getting a fair trial


6 November 2017 – PEN International and PEN Norway today met with Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland, to discuss the urgent situation of detained journalists and freedom of expression in the country. PEN was also delighted to officially join the Council of Europe’s Platform for the Safety of Journalists.

Accompanying PEN was Yonca Şık, wife of detained investigative journalist Ahmet Şık, former English PEN writer in residence. Şık is on trial with colleagues from the Cumhuriyet newspaper on charges which PEN considers to be purely politically motivated. In the meeting, PEN highlighted the urgent need for Şık and all other detained journalists in Turkey to be immediately released from prison where many have now spent over a year.

“There can be no more urgent cases than those of journalists in Turkey who are in detention purely for exercising their right to freedom of expression,” said Carles Torner, Executive Director of PEN International. “Detained journalists in Turkey can no longer expect a fair trial and have placed all of their hopes in the European Court of Human Rights.”

“I am very happy to receive the support of Secretary General Jagland who was well informed of Ahmet and Cumhuriyet’s current cases, as well as the significance of the 2011 ECtHR decision on Ahmet’s previous case,” said Yonca Şık. “ We are all waiting anxiously for a prompt decision from the European Court on the cases of detained journalists in Turkey.”

PEN has intervened as a third party on each of the cases of detained journalists in Turkey which have been given priority status at the European Court of Human Rights.

Şık has been in detention since December 2016, while his colleagues have been in detention for over one year. PEN has outlined our major fair trials concerns in our observations of each of the four hearings of the trial since it began in July 2017.

For further information, please contact Sarah Clarke, Policy and Advocacy Manager, sarah.clarke@pen-international.org; +44 7575 030028.