Pro-Kurdish reporter being held hostage at Silivri prison – report

A pro-Kurdish news agency reporter has claimed that he is being held hostage by the Silivri Prison administration despite being sentenced to probation, according to a news report on Gazete Duvar.

Siddik Damar, a reporter for the now-shuttered pro-Kurdish Dicle news agency (DIHA), told news portal Gazete Duvar in a letter on Sunday that he was being held hostage at the Silivri Prison despite a court order of probation for him.

“I’ve been in Silivri prison for 12 months the ‘Silivri Campus Republic’ to be more precise. If you ask why? Because the Constitution, rights, and the concept of justice are put aside here,” Damar said.

“When Mardin 2nd High Criminal Court ruled for my arrest, they said I can exercise the right to probation,” Damar stated in the letter, adding that the prison administration unlawfully confiscated the right.

Damar also said that although it has been two months since the court made a probation order for him after his application, the order is overlooked by the Silivri prison administration.

Damar was arrested due to his social media posts and news coverage in the eastern Kurdish-majority cities when the Turkish government imposed curfews there during counterterrorism operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Curfews have become common throughout 2016 in Turkey’s southeast following the collapse of a peace process between the government and the PKK in July 2015.

Another case of violation of rights in Silivri prison involves Ibrahim Gokcek, a member of the leftist music band Grup Yorum that has been targeted by the Turkish government for its political songs.

The band has released a statement saying that Silivri prison refuses to give Gokcek his musical instruments for two weeks, saying that they are examining them.

“We ask them once again: What is the Silivri prison administration looking for in Ibrahim Gokcek’s guitar, what are they examining for exactly?” the statement said.

DIHA was among more than 160 media outlets that were shut down as part of the state of emergency declared by the Turkish government less than a week after the attempted 2016 coup.

Currently, more than 200 journalists are arrested in Turkey which is called the “world’s biggest jailer of journalists” by the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in its 2018 World Press Freedom Index.

RSF, an international media rights group, shows Turkey ranking 157th out of 180 countries in the index.

Court of appeal upholds sentences given to opposition journalists and staff from Cumhuriyet daily

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