RAN 10/11 Update #3 28 March 2012
The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of PEN International is deeply concerned by reports of online threats and new charges for Ahmet Şık. The charges brought by prosecutors, meanwhile, allege that comments made by Şık as he left prison are themselves “threatening” to judges and prosecutors. The WiPC considers the comments made by Sik to be legitimate comment, and urges the authorities to condemn and investigate threats of violence made against the writer. The WiPC continues to be concerned that he is being tried on charges that contravene his right to freedom of expression, and that not enough is being done to ensure his safety because of his dissenting views.
Just four days after Ahmet Şık’s release pending trial on March 2012, a person using the pseudonym “Faiz Düsmani” (Enemy of Interest) posted a message on Twitter stating: “Attention, attention. I warn the government and those that can, should also inform it. Ergenekon is planning to assassinate Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener. [The organization] is going to kill them and then blame the [Gülen religious] community.” The online threats, posted on social networking site Twitter, warn of an assassination attempt against the writers, but have so far gone uninvestigated by Turkish authorities.
PEN takes these threats very seriously and echoes Reporters Without Borders in calling for the Turkish authorities to thoroughly investigate the source of this Tweet.
Turkish freedom of expression monitor, Bianet reports that the new investigation launched against Ahmet Şık accuses him of “threatening judges and prosecutors and depicting them as targets for terrorist organizations” in the comments he made to the press upon his release from Istanbul’s Silivri prison.
Şık had said, “Incomplete justice is not going to bring justice and democracy. About one hundred journalists are still in prison, just related to my trial there are five detainees. The issue of freedom of expression is not only a problem of journalists. We are going to continue the struggle. The police officers, prosecutors and judges who plotted and carried out this conspiracy will go to prison. Justice will come when they enter this prison.”
Ahmet Şık, an investigative journalist and author was arrested was arrested on 7 March 2011, after police seized the draft manuscript of his book, The Imam’s Army. The book investigates the alleged affiliation of the Turkish police to the Gülen movement, an Islamic organization that promotes inter-faith dialogue. He was arrested alongside Nedim Şener, who is also charged for his writings on the Gülen movement and exploring the alleged links to the ultranationalist network known as ‘Ergenekon’. For details see previous alerts.
The journalists were released this month after over a year in prison. However the trial against them will continue, a process that can last for months, even years.
Please note: a previous alert incorrectly referred to Nedim Şener as being the author of The Imam’s Army – please note that Ahmet Şık is the author.
Please send appeals:
Requesting the authorities to condemn the threats against Ahmet Şık and to provide protection
Expressing concern about the threat of additional prosecution for comments made on his release
Referring to concerns that Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener are being prosecuted on charges that contravene their right to freedom of expression as guaranteed under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
For more information go to:
Hürriyet: Freed Journalist Şık under New Probe
Reporters Without Borders: http://en.rsf.org/turquie-four-journalists-released-but-13-03-2012,42106.html
Send appeals to:
Mr Sadullah Ergin
Minister of Justice
Fax: 00 90 312 419 3370
Also to the Turkish ambassador in your country.
**Please contact the PEN WiPC office in London if sending appeals after 30 April 2012**
For further information please contact Sara Whyatt at PEN International PEN Writers in Prison Committee, Brownlow House, 50/51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, Fax: +44 (0) 20 7405 0339, email: firstname.lastname@example.org