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Decision to hold journalists’ trial in secret makes mockery of justice system

Friday 25 March 2016 - 12:43pm

cangulPEN International today condemned the decision of a court in Istanbul to hold the trial of Cumhuriyet journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül in camera.

This trial is a defining moment for press freedom and independence of the judiciary in Turkey today,’ said Ann Harrison, Director of PEN International’s Freedom to Write Programme.

‘This decision to hold the trial in closed session once again calls into question the independence of Turkey’s judiciary. How can the Turkish public be assured that evidence presented will be properly tested and that Dündar and Gül receive a fair trial?’

‘These journalists should not even be on trial, as they were merely doing their job in reporting on arms transfers to Syria by Turkish forces, but instead are facing possible life sentences. This is a black day for media freedom in Turkey, and for the public’s right to know what their government is doing. ’

The decision comes a day after PEN International published an open letter to the Turkish prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, signed by more than 100 writers from across the globe, calling for all charges against the journalists to be dropped.

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Free Turkey’s Imprisoned Writers
Letter to Prime Minister Davutoğlu