June 14, 2024

14.06.2024 – Journalist Azim Deniz Attacked, Suspect Released After Four Months

Azim Deniz (@azim_deniz), owner of Deniz Postası (https://www.denizpostasi.com/) newspaper and Anadolu TV (https://www.anadolunettv.com/), was wounded in a shooting incident outside his home on 5 February 2024. The assailant was arrested but subsequently released four months later by the decision of the 2nd Criminal Court of Peace in Kayseri, Türkiye / Turkey with the court citing a “lack of suspicion of fleeing” as the reason for the release.

Deniz and his lawyer, AykanMazmanoğlu, have expressed their dissatisfaction with the court’s decision, labeling it as both unfair and unjust. Mazmanoğlu has indicated that they intend to appeal the release in court.

The indictment from the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in Kayseri charged the assailant with “attempted intentional homicide” and “buying, carrying, or possessing unlicensed firearms and bullets.” The prosecution is seeking a prison sentence of 10 to 18 years.

On the morning of 5 February 2024, as Deniz was leaving his home, he was shot by the assailant, resulting in injuries to his leg and abdomen. Deniz was quickly taken to City Hospital in Kayseri for treatment. The attacker fled but was later apprehended in the Sorgun district of Yozgat, Türkiye / Turkey. Following his arrest, the court issued a warrant, and he was detained.

During interrogation, this individual allegedly confessed to shooting Deniz because of unfavorable news articles published about him in 2023. He allegedly claimed he had attempted to contact Deniz several times to request the removal of the articles but received no response. He allegedly stated that his initial intention was simply to talk, but he panicked, fearing that Deniz might be armed, and opened fire.

The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is monitoring the developments connected to the attack on Azim Deniz. The fact that his attacker was released after just four months in custody, despite being charged, is troubling, especially for the security of Deniz, as this was not the first attack on Deniz. On 8 April 2022, a group of 40-50 people raided the newsroom and studio of Deniz Postası in Kayseri. The group attacked Deniz. One month ago, in May, the 1st High Criminal Court in Kayseri sentenced 7 perpetrators from the incident to 11 years and 4 months in prison each.

South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is a regional non-governmental, non profit network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in Southeast, South, East and Central Europe. SEEMO members are in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova (with the territory of Transdnestria), Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Türkiye / Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Austria, Italy, Vatican and San Marino have a special status in SEEMO. SEEMO has over 3000 individual members, and additional media as corporate members.

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