Vienna, 11 May 2017 – The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) was deeply concerned to hear about several deeply problematic and undemocratic cases of media freedom and human rights violations in Turkey.
Aysenur Parildak (Ayşenur Parıldak), a 27 year old journalist and law student at the Ankara University was arrested in August 2016 and charged under the Turkish anti-terror law because of her tweets and stories she was covering at the time for the (now closed) daily Zaman. Parildak was also accused of using a phone app called ByLock to communicate, which is publicly available messaging software; all of this was claimed by the prosecutor as criminal evidence against her. According to the journalist, during her nine month long detention she has been a victim to violence and sexual harassment.
On 2 May, while friends and family awaited her release after a trial hearing, the Ankara No.14 High Criminal Court decided to re-arrest Parildak before she was even released. The public prosecutor claimed that “all evidence” against the journalist had already “been collected” and that the state regulatory body Information Technologies and Communication Authority (BTK) was sending “new evidence” from her phone at that very time. The prosecutor claimed that Parildak needed to be put under arrest again in order to not “tamper with said evidence” and asked for a prison sentenced of up to 15 years.
SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South, East and Central Europe and its press freedom work is supported by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) project, as part of a grant by the European Commission.