The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, welcomed today’s court decision to acquit two journalists and a human rights defender in Turkey.
The trial of Reporters Without Borders’ Turkey representative Erol Önderoğlu, freelance journalist Ahmet Nesin, and head of the Turkey Human Rights Foundation Şebnem Korur Fincancı concluded today at the Çağlayan courthouse, with the Istanbul 13 High Criminal Court ruling in favour of their acquittal. The charges brought against them included engaging in terrorist propaganda and supporting criminal activity, following their participation in a solidarity campaign for the Kurdish media outlet, Özgür Gündem, which was closed in August 2016 through the Statutory Decree No. 675 issued under the state of emergency.
“I am relieved at today’s acquittal of Erol Önderoğlu, Ahmet Nesin and Şebnem Korur Fincancı. I welcome this decision after almost three years. This is a long-awaited ruling, which comes at a crucial time for all journalists in Turkey. I hope that this positive news will reflect on other similar cases of prosecuted journalists and those currently behind bars in the country,” Désir said.
The Representative recalled that Önderoğlu is one of his Office’s most trusted international experts, who is well known for his strong dedication to professional journalism and fighting for journalists’ rights in Turkey.
“It’s very important that Erol’s tireless work and sacrifice for other colleagues is recognized, and that he will be allowed to continue his important work without any hindrance,” Désir said.