Category Archives: Middle East/ME

PHOTOS: Gazans Protest Again; Palestinian Officials Say 8 Killed By Israel https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/04/06/600157230/photos-gazans-protest-again-palestinian-officials-say-7-killed-by-israel

palestinina injured

PHOTOS: Gazans Protest Again; Palestinian Officials Say 8 Killed By Israel

Updated Saturday 9:42 a.m. ET

Palestinian health officials say eight Palestinian protesters were shot dead by Israeli fire at border demonstrations Friday, including a Palestinian photojournalist wearing a protective vest marked, “Press.” This caps a week of the largest demonstrations and worst violence that Gaza has seen in years.

The Israeli army had no immediate comment on the deaths.

Tthe total death toll from a week of protests is at least 29, according to Palestinian health officials.

On Friday, thousands of Palestinians once again gathered to demonstrate near the border with Israel “for the right to return to lands in today’s Israel,” as NPR’s Daniel Estrin reported from the scene.

An injured Palestinian protester is carried by fellow demonstrators during a protest east of Khan Yunis in Gaza.

Said Khatib /AFP/Getty Images

Palestinians say this is a peaceful demonstration. In a series of protest encampments, families fly kites and food trucks are parked to support the demonstration.

Israel accuses the Hamas militant group, which controls Gaza, of trying to turn the border area into a combat zone. Daniel said he heard gunfire and saw tear gas in the area immediately next to the border. Black smoke billowed from the area, he said, as young Palestinians brought tires down to the border to burn. Some threw rocks at the soldiers.

Palestinian demonstrators burned tires in order to create a smoke screen to block the view of Israel forces.

Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images

“Palestinians are actually calling today the ‘Day of Tires,’ because they said they were going to burn tires to create a smokescreen so that Israeli soldiers on the other side of the border fence wouldn’t be able to see them,” Daniel added.

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Among those reported wounded today was a Palestinian photojournalist, as Daniel reported. “Photos show him wearing a protective vest marked PRESS.”

Palestinian youth brought tires close to the border to burn during Friday’s protests.

Mahmud Hams /AFP/Getty Images

Israel maintains it is simply protecting its border and its troops. It has released video that appears to show several Palestinians trying to break through the border fence.

Rights groups have criticized Israel for disproportionate use of force against people who pose no immediate threat. Videos circulated on social media appear to show Israeli forces firing at Palestinians some distance away from the fence.

And while Hamas is vocally backing these demonstrations, which are intended to last six weeks, many Palestinians are participating because of the dismal living conditions in Gaza.

The area has been under blockade by Israel and Egypt for a decade. Gazans get only a few hours of electricity every day and have extremely limited water. The unemployment rate is at more than 40 percent.

Israeli security forces deployed near the Israeli border with the southern Gaza Strip watch smoke rising from the Palestinian village of Khuzaa.

Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images

“Palestinians said last week when the protest began, hundreds were injured by Israeli fire. Israel has disputed that, said that only tens of Palestinians were injured,” Daniel reported. At a hospital he visited – one of many treating wounded people in Gaza – “they said that they had had at least 100 people in surgery for serious wounds.”

Protest organizers are vowing to continue demonstrating for six weeks, until mid-May.

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/04/06/600157230/photos-gazans-protest-again-palestinian-officials-say-7-killed-by-israel

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Palestinian Journalist Wearing Press Jacket Killed by Israeli Army in Gaza

Murtaja killed

Association of N. American (Canada_US ) Ethnic Journalists and writers condemn killing Palestinian Photo Journalist  Yaser Murtaja  by Israel Forces.

We call on Netanyahu government to bring who killed the journalist before court of justice immediatley.

April 7 -2018

Murtaja killedMurtaja with rabbit

Palestinian Journalist Wearing Press Jacket Killed by Israeli Army in Gaza

The photographer Yaser Murtaja was shot in the chest and four additional journalists were injured by live fire. Israeli army: We did not intend to shoot journalists, circumstances under investigation

A Palestinian journalist shot Friday during clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces at the Gaza-Israel border died of his wounds later Friday night. The journalist, Yaser Murtaja, can be seen in photos soon after he was shot wearing a protective jacket labeled “PRESS”. Four other journalists were injured by live fire during the demonstrations, one of them critically.

Murtaga, 30, was shot in the abdomen as he covered demonstrations Friday east of Gaza City. According to the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate, Murtaja was shot by gunfire while standing 350 meters from the border fence. The Israeli army has said in response: “The IDF does not intend to shoot at journalists, and the circumstances in which journalists were allegedly injured by IDF gunfire are unknown and are being investigated.”

About a month ago, Murtaja wrote on Facebook that he had never left Gaza, sharing an aerial photograph of the Gaza port. Thousands attended his funeral in the Strip.

Palestinian journalists injured covering mass protest in Gaza Strip

Palestinian protesters cover from teargas fired by Israeli soldiers during clashes with Israeli troops along the Gaza Strip border with Israel, east of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, Friday, March 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

We at North American Ethnic Journalists and WRITERS CALL ON ISRAELI ARMY TO RESPECT JOURNALISTS WHO ARE COVERING THE EVENTS .

Palestinian journalists injured covering mass protest in Gaza Strip
April 2, 2018

 

Beirut, April 2, 2018 — Israeli authorities should independently and credibly investigate reports that Israeli security forces injured journalists covering protests in the Gaza Strip on March 30, 2018, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
At least 10 Palestinian journalists were injured while covering mass protests on the Gaza border, according to the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), the Palestinian press freedom group Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedom (MADA), the regional press freedom group Center for Defending the Freedom of Journalists (CFJ), and news reports.
Thousands of Palestinians joined the protest in Gaza Strip on March 30 against Israel’s refusal to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their pre-1948 homes, news reports said. At least 17 Palestinians have been killed and 1,400 injured in the protest.
“Journalists should be able to cover demonstrations without fearing for their safety,” CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour said from Washington D.C. “We call on Israeli officials to hold to account any security personnel who commit violence against journalists.”
Freelance journalist Ahmed Salem Muammar was hit in his lower abdomen by a live round in an area east of the city of Khan Younis, according to MADA, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, and CFJ.
Muammar told MADA that he was leaving the site of the demonstrations along with his colleague Hatem Omar, a photographer for the Xinhua News Agency, after having covered the protests when he was shot in his abdomen. “By chance I was very close to an ambulance that took me to Nasser Hospital. There were 14 shrapnel in my lower abdomen, I underwent a three-hour surgery, where 30 cm of intestine was removed, bleeding was controlled and I am still under observation in hospital,” he said, according to MADA’s website.
Wisam Mousa, photographer for the Deir al-Balah-based local radio station Fursan al-Aradah, was hit by live rounds in both legs while he was covering the protests from afar at the refugee camp of Al-Bureij, according to MADA, the PJS, and his employer.
“I was more than 400 meters away from the border fence, and while I was standing near the ambulances, I was deliberately targeted and shot with two live fire- bullets, one of which penetrated my right leg and came out of it, whereas, the other bullet penetrated my left leg causing a severe rupture in my leg muscle- just below the knee,” Mousa told MADA.
Israeli Defense Forces did not immediately reply to CPJ’s email requesting comment.
Hala al-Hassanat, reporter for the Gaza-based Nahar News Agency, told CPJ that she was covering the march at Al-Bureij refugee camp in the evening when Israeli soldiers began shooting at civilians. She ran away from the shooting and fell over a pile of stones, breaking her left leg. She was transferred for treatment to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital.
Mahmoud Adnan Mdouj, a photographer for the media production company Media Town, was hit by a live round in his right leg, which was broken as a result, while he was covering the protest march behind the protesters, about 500 meters away from the border fence, according to MADA and pictures posted on Facebook by other Palestinian journalists.
Ahmed Kafa, a photographer for the local news website Deir al-Balah Media, was injured in his right leg by a live round while he was covering the protests in eastern Khan Younis, according to the local press freedom group Journalist Support Committee, news reports, and his employer.
Journalists Amina Dabash, reporter for the independent news agency Media Field Unit, Mohammed Joudeh, reporter for the Palestinian Authority’s official broadcaster Palestine TV, and freelance photographer Hussein Abu Khreis were hit directly in their legs by tear gas canisters in Al-Bureij, Rafah, and eastern Khan Younis, respectively, according to the PJS, news reports, and Facebook posts.
Ali Yousef al-Adwy, reporter and cameraman for the local Lajee TV Channel, was hit by a bullet on his left leg, slightly below his knee, while he was covering the protests near the Gaza border with Israel, according to his employer, pictures of Al-Adwy posted on Facebook, and the CFJ.
For his part, Loay Nahd al-Ghoul, a reporter for Palestine TV, inhaled tear gas while he was covering the protests in eastern Gaza, according to the PJS and a post on his Facebook account.

Human Rights Watch questions Israel’s use of live ammunition that causing 17 palestinian killed Israel army

Israeli Military Kills 15 Palestinians
Human Rights Watch questions Israel’s use of live ammunition that causing 17 palestinian killed by Israel army

Israeli Military Kills 17 Palestinians in Confrontations on Gaza Border

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NEW YORK, March 31, 2018 (WAFA) – Human Rights Watch (HRW) questioned on Friday Israel’s use of live ammunition against Palestinian civilians following the Israeli army shooting and killing 15 Palestinians and injuring over 1400 in one day on the Gaza border with Israel.

Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW’s Middle East and North Africa director, said in a tweet that “the shocking number of Palestinians killed and hurt today by soldiers firing across the Gaza fence raises serious questions about Israel’s longstanding use of live ammunition to police demonstrations.”

Whitson also rejected Israel’s justification for the heavy and unrestrained use of fire arms against civilians taking part in a peaceful rally, saying “Israel’s allegations of violence by some protesters do not change the fact that using lethal force is banned by international law except to meet an imminent threat to life.”

Egypt expels British journalist, raising fears for press ahead of election Arrest and deportation of Bel Trew, a correspondent for the Times, is the latest incident in an unprecedented crackdown

sisi

Egypt expels British journalist, raising fears for press ahead of election
Arrest and deportation of Bel Trew, a correspondent for the Times, is the latest incident in an unprecedented crackdown

Egyptian authorities threatened a British journalist with a military trial and expelled her from the country with no stated cause, in advance of the country’s upcoming presidential election.

Bel Trew, a journalist with the Times, was arrested on 20 February while reporting in Shubra, a working-class neighbourhood of Cairo, and taken to a police station. Hours later, she was driven to Cairo international airport and forced to board a flight for London.

In an account published on Saturday by the Times, Trew wrote: “The charges were never revealed to me. [But] after seven hours of detention, I was threatened with a military trial, a legal process often used against terrorism suspects or dissidents.”

Egypt detains state TV host in latest crackdown on media
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“Less than 24 hours after I was first detained, I was marched on to a plane with nothing but the clothes I was standing up in. The choice before me – stay for a military trial or leave – was no kind of choice,” she wrote.

The arrest and deportation of a foreign journalist is the latest incident in an already unprecedented crackdown on press freedom in Egypt.

Foreign media workers have been subject to imprisonment or arrest in the past, but Trew’s expulsion has raised concerns about whether journalists are safe to report in Egypt ahead of the country’s upcoming presidential election on 26 March.

In a statement, the Times said that it had withheld news of Trew’s deportation while investigating if she could return to the country.

“The circumstances of her detention and the threats made against her were sufficiently outlandish to suggest that a mistake had been made, based on a misunderstanding. We have since been trying to ensure her safe return to Cairo, in time to cover the presidential election. It is now clear that the authorities have no intention of allowing her to return,” the newspaper said.

“As far as the Cairo authorities are concerned, I am on a list of ‘undesirable people’ and if I attempt to return I will be re-arrested,” wrote Trew.

A spokeswoman for the British Embassy in Cairo said that the motivation for Trew’s expulsion was still unknown.

“We have provided support and raised our concerns at the highest levels. The foreign secretary has raised it directly with the Egyptian foreign minister. The Egyptian authorities have not shared any evidence of wrongdoing. We will continue to press them on this case,” she said.

The Egyptian government did not respond to requests for comment.

Trew, 33, moved to Cairo shortly before the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

Since the current president Abdel Fatah al-Sisi came to power in a 2013 military coup, the climate for Egyptian and foreign media has grown increasingly repressive.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 20 Egyptian journalists are behind bars as of December last year.

Egypt is described as one of “the world’s biggest prisons for journalists”, by the press freedom group Reporters Without Borders, ranking 161 out of a total of 180 countries on their annual World Press Freedom Index.

UK partly responsible for thousdans Yemen civilian deaths by support Saudi invasion , says Labour

jermy corbin

UK partly responsible for Yemen civilian deaths, says Labour

Jeremy Corbyn’s spokesman says government has some complicity due to relationship with Saudis

Labour has said the British government must be held partly responsible for civilian casualties in Yemen, after Jeremy Corbyn challenged Theresa May over the lavish welcome for the visiting Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

may - saudi prince

The Labour leader used prime minister’s questions to accuse May of failing to stand up to the Saudis over human rights abuses and possible war crimes in Yemen.

May defended her links with Bin Salman, who will meet the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William, as well as senior ministers, during his three-day visit. She said engagement was the only way to have influence over the Saudis.

But Corbyn urged the prime minister to stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia over its intervention in Yemen, which has killed thousands of civilians and worsened a humanitarian catastrophe, and take the crown prince to task on human rights.

UK hypocrisy , double standard on Arab Dictators

may - saudi prince

UK  hypocrisy , double standard on Arab Dictators -If I were the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, I’d be cynical about this state visit
The truth is, you just can’t tell who your real friends are these days

Robert Fisk @indyvoices

March 9-2018-

may - saudi prince

Thank heavens Theresa May is giving a warm welcome today to the illustrious Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, His Royal Majesty Mohammad bin Salman. For it is meet and right that she should do so. His Royal Highness is a courageous Arab reformer, keen to drag his wealthy nation into the 21st century in a raft of promises – women’s rights, massive economic restructuring, moderate Islam, further intelligence gathering on behalf of the West and an even more vital alliance in the “War on Terror”.

Thank God, however, that Theresa May – in her infinite wisdom – is not going to waste her time greeting a head-chopping and aggressive Arab Crown Prince whose outrageous war in Yemen is costing thousands of lives and tainting the United Kingdom with his shame by purchasing millions of dollars in weapons from May to use against the people of Yemen, who is trying to destroy his wealthy Arab brothers in Qatar and doing his best to persuade the US, Britain and sundry other Westerners to join the Saudi war against the Shias of the Middle East.

You see the problem? When it comes to money, guns and power, we will cuddle up to any Arab autocrat, especially if our masters in Washington, however insane, feel the same way about him – and it will always be a “him”, won’t it? And we will wash our hands with them if or when they have ceased to be of use, or no longer buy our weapons or run out of cash or simply get overthrown. Thus I can feel some sympathy for young Mohammad.

I have to add – simply in terms of human rights – that anyone who has to listen to Theresa “Let’s Get On With It” May for more than a few minutes has my profound sympathy. The Saudi foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, a very intelligent Richelieu, must surely feel the same impatience when he listens to the patently dishonest ramblings of his opposite number. Boris Johnson’s contempt and then love for the Balfour Declaration in the space of less than 12 months is recognised in the Arab world as the cynical charade that it is.

Human rights groups, Amnesty and the rest are angrily calling Crown Prince Mohammad to account this week. So are the inevitable protesters. Any constable who raises a baton to keep order will be “doing the Saudis’ work”, we can be sure. But I fear that the Crown Prince should be far more concerned by the Government which is now grovelling to his leadership. For he is dealing with a Western power, in this case the Brits. And the only advice he should be given in such circumstances is: mind your back.

A walk, now, down memory lane. When Gaddafi overthrew King Idris, the Foreign Office smiled upon him. A fresh face, a safe pair of hands with an oil-bearing nation whose wealth we might consume, we thought Gaddafi might be our man. The Americans even tipped him off about a counter-coup, just as we much later helped Gaddafi round up his opponents for torture. Then Gaddafi decided to be an anti-colonial nationalist and eventually got mixed up with the IRA and a bomb in a West Berlin nightclub – and bingo, he became a super-terrorist. Yet come the “War on Terror” and the invasion of Iraq, Gaddafi was kissed by the Venerable Blair and became a super-statesman again. Until the 2011 revolution, at which point he had to become a super-terrorist once more, bombed by Nato and murdered by his own people.

Talking of Iraq, Saddam had a similar experience. At first we rather liked the chap and the Americans even tipped him off on the location of his communist opponents. He was a head-chopper, to be sure, but as long as he invaded the right county, he was a super-statesman. Hence we helped him in his invasion of Iran in 1980 but declared him a super-terrorist in 1990 when he invaded the wrong country: Kuwait. And he ended up, like Gaddafi, killed by his own people, albeit that the Americans set up the court which decided to top him.

Yasser Arafat – not that we even think of him these days – was a Palestinian super-terrorist in Beirut. He was the centre of World Terror until he shook hands with Yitzhak Rabin and Bill Clinton, at which point he became a super-statesman. But the moment he refused to deviate from the Oslo agreement and accept Israeli hegemony over the West Bank – he was never offered “90 per cent” of it, as the American media claimed – he was on the way to super-terrorism again. Surrounded and bombarded in his Ramallah hovel, he was airlifted to a Paris military hospital where he conveniently died. The Israelis had already dubbed him “our bin Laden”, a title they later tried to confer on Arafat’s luckless successor Mahmoud Abbas – who was neither a super-terrorist nor a super-statesman but something worse: a failure

 

It should not be necessary to run through the other Arab transmogrifications from evil to good to evil again. Nasser, who helped to overthrow the corrupt King Farouk, quickly became a super-terrorist when he nationalised the Suez Canal and was called the “Mussolini of the Nile” by Eden – a slightly measly comparison when you remember that Saddam became the “Hitler of the Tigris” in 1990. Khomeini was a potential super-statesman in his Paris exile when the Shah was overthrown. Then he became a super-terrorist-in-chief once he established the Islamic Republic. The French Jacobins thought that Hafez al-Assad was a potential super-statesman but decided he was a super-terrorist when Bashar al-Assad – lionised in France after his father’s death – went to war on his opponents, thus becoming a super-terrorist himself. The Brits quickly shrugged off their loyalties to Omani and Qatari emirs when their sons staged coups against them.

Thus Mohammad bin Salman, may his name be praised, might be reminded by Adel al-Jubeir as he settles down in London: “Memento homo”, the gladiator’s reminder to every emperor that he is only “a man”. What if the Yemen war is even bloodier, what if the Saudi military become increasingly disenchanted with the war – which is almost certainly why the Crown Prince staged a putsch among his commanders last month – and what if his Vision2030 proves a Saudi South Sea Bubble? What if the humiliated and vexatious princes and billionaires he humbled in the Riyadh Ritz Hotel come to take their revenge? What if – dare one speak his name? – a future British prime minister reopened the Special Branch enquiry into the Al-Yamamah arms contract? And, while we’re on the subject, what if someone discovers the routes by which US weapons reached Isis and their chums after 2014?

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/mohammad-bin-salman-uk-visit-saudi-arabia-crown-prince-history-relationships-middle-east-leaders-a8243686.html

Egypt detains 2 journalists reporting on historic tramway

historic Alexandria tramway.

Trump wrong approch in Middle East / signs Iran Saudi preparing for war

saudi iran

The signs that Iran and Saudi Arabia preparing for war

The Islamic rivals are already battling indirectly in several countries. Their enmity may pose a bigger global risk than North Korea.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. His country has been leading a bombing campaign in Yemen, targeting a group they believe to be backed militarily by regional Shia power Iran.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. His country has been leading a bombing campaign in Yemen, targeting a group they believe to be backed militarily by regional Shia power Iran.  (PRESIDENCY PRESS SERVICE / AP)

Where will the world’s next catastrophic war erupt? And what will trigger it?

However risky the North Korean nuclear stalemate remains, the more likely battleground once again appears to be the Middle East.

And the growing rivalry between the region’s most powerful countries — Iran and Saudi Arabia — will be what triggers it.

In recent weeks, the potential flashpoints across the Middle East have been dangerously intersecting with each other.

They include the deepening war in Syria, the risk of Israeli involvement, the humanitarian disaster in Yemen, the disarray within Lebanon, the continuing sectarian conflict in Iraq and the fear that new nuclear weapons may be introduced in the region.

But magnifying the risk is what looms above all these conflicts.

In varying degrees, all are being fuelled or influenced — as a form of proxy war — by what many Middle East analysts fear is the coming showdown between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

This is not only a showdown over religion, dividing all of Islam, with Shia Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia at the opposite ends of an Islamic rift that dates to the 7th century.

Above all, it is a showdown about power and history in the Middle East. Who will dominate the region? Who will shape the future? And who will lose?

It is impossible to sort through the many crises within the region without understanding the historical context of this crucial relationship. And that is particularly important now.

In recent days, an excellent two-part, three-hour PBS FRONTLINE documentary, titled “Bitter Rivals: Iran and Saudi Arabia,” has been broadcast. It can be watched online at www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/

With correspondent Martin Smith, FRONTLINE teams in the past two years visited seven countries in the region and pulled together a portrait of what drives Iran and Saudi Arabia. In doing so, they explained the many complicated forces that dominate today’s crises.

Although the conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia has its roots deep in history, the most recent transition came in 2011 in response to the so-called Arab Spring.

Saudi Arabia’s monarchy felt threatened by the popular revolts throughout the Arab world, and accused Iran of fuelling the flames. Iran’s ruling clerics, for their part, worried that their own survival was at stake.

When he was U.S. president, Barack Obama tried — unsuccessfully — to lower tensions between the two Middle Eastern powers. His appeal was that they should learn “to share the neighbourhood.” Although that angered the Saudis, it is hard not to conclude that, on this point at least, Obama was on the right side of history.

However, President Donald Trump has moved in an entirely different direction. He wants to scrap the historic nuclear deal the world’s major powers made with Iran, which he views as a global pariah.

Unlike Obama, he has placed no limits on Saudi Arabia, a position that has been evident in Yemen where Saudi Arabia is being accused of war crimes. Iran, meanwhile, has been involved in the support of the Assad regime in Syria, as well financing the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon.

In the PBS documentary, it was pointed out that if more than a million people have died in the region’s conflicts in the past decade, few have been Iranian or Saudi citizens.

The program is probably most revealing in placing the Iranian and Saudi stories in their historical context. Americans, in particular, often forget the enormous role — frequently destructive — of their own government and military in modern Middle Eastern history. People in the Middle East don’t suffer the same amnesia.

The program devoted its opening segment to something that illustrated this point. It was an event that haunts Iranians to this day, but which few Americans know anything about.

In 1953, Iran’s secular, democratic government, led by Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, was overthrown in a coup funded and organized by the CIA and Britain’s intelligence service, known as M16.

That led to the return of the Shah of Iran, and his despotic regime, which was finally toppled in 1979 by Iran’s ayatollahs and their Islamic Revolution.

As Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said in the program about his own country’s relationship with the U.S.: “It is a very unfortunate fact that people have short memories, when actually some of them may not want to remember what happened.”

Sad News on Turkey sentences journalists to life in jail over coup attempt

3 turkish journalist jailed

Association of North American Ethnic Journalists and writers ( Canada ) disappointed buy the prison time for six Turkish journalists.  We request Turkish Government to review the case by considering freedom of press.

 

Turkey sentences journalists to life in jail over coup attempt

Sentencing over alleged role in failed coup in 2016 condemned as devastating precedent that shows disregard for rule of law

A Turkish court has sentenced six defendants, including three prominent journalists, to life in prison over allegations of involvement in a 2016 coup attempt, in the first conviction of journalists in trials related to the failed putsch.

The harsh verdict was swiftly condemned by press freedom advocates as a “devastating precedent” that shows “utter disregard for the rule of law” in Turkey.

It came after a months-long trial during which it was alleged that the journalists sent “subliminal messages” via TV appearances and newspaper columns urging the overthrow of the government, and that they maintained contact with members of the Fethullah Gülen network, a movement widely believed in Turkey to have orchestrated the coup attempt.

The verdict constitutes a major defeat for press freedom in the Nato member state, which has cracked down on dissent in the aftermath of the coup. At least 73 journalists remain behind bars, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, which ranks Turkey the world’s worst jailer of journalists, ahead of China and Egypt.

The journalists sentenced on Friday were the brothers Ahmet Altan and Mehmet Altan, who have been detained since 2016, and Nazlı Ilıcak. The conviction defies an order by Turkey’s highest court to release Mehmet Altan, after it found last month that his imprisonment had violated his constitutional rights.

Sarah Clarke, the policy and advocacy manager for the writers’ association PEN International, tweeted her dismay at the sentences.

Today’s verdict & sentences of life without parole for , & mark an apex of the disintegration of the in . Judge ignored a binding Turkish Constitutional Court decision. The European Court of Human Rights must act.

The International Press Institute said it was “appalled” by the verdict.

AdveThe sentencing came on the same day another Turkish court ordered the release of Deniz Yücel, a German-Turkish journalist who spent just over a year in pre-trial detention without an indictment, in a case that tested relations between Ankara and Berlin and highlighted the precarious state of press freedom in Turkey.

A criminal court in Istanbul decided to release Yücel pending a trial after prosecutors said they had completed their investigation into the journalist. The court accepted the indictment filed by prosecutors, who are seeking an 18-year prison sentence over allegations of spreading propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organisation.

The order to release him was confirmed by the state-run Anadolu Agency, the German foreign minister, and Yücel’s lawyer, Veysel Ok, who tweeted a photograph of Yücel embracing his wife after he was freed.

The Die Welt correspondent was detained on 14 February 2017 after going to an Istanbul police station for questioning. He got married in prison and spent months in solitary confinement at Silivri maximum security prison outside Istanbul. He spent 366 days in detention without formal charges.

Yücel’s detention came amid a deep rift in relations between Germany and Turkey. Berlin barred Turkish ministers from holding rallies in Germany with Turkish citizens ahead of a referendum on presidential powers, and condemned growing authoritarianism under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who in turn has condemned rising Islamophobia in Europe. Talks on Turkey’s future membership of the EU have been stalled for years.

Since you’re here …

… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.

I appreciate there not being a paywall: it is more democratic for the media to be available for all and not a commodity to be purchased by a few. I’m happy to make a contribution so others with less means still have access to information.Thomasine F-R.

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