|Ahmet Memis, Haberdar, Rotahaber
|July 24, 2016
Police detained Ahmet Memis, news coordinator of Internet news portal Haberdar, on July 24, 2016. Memis, 42, turned himself in to police in Istanbul when he learned that they went to his home to detain him in his absence, according to press reports.
According to court documents CPJ reviewed, the judge who ordered the journalist's detention pending trial on suspicion of being a member of a terrorist organization asked him about his work for Haberdar and for the news website Rotahaber, where Memis worked as an editor from 2010 to 2015. Both websites stopped operating soon after a failed military coup on July 15, 2016, amid a sweeping crackdown on suspected followers of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen, whom the Turkish government accuses of maintaining a terrorist organization and parallel state structure within Turkey that it alleges was behind the attempted coup.
The judge also asked him if he had any involvement with a Twitter account named Fuat Avni, which claims to be the work of someone from within Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's inner circle. Memis denied any connection to the account.
Memis was also asked about news reports on Fuat Avni's tweets in Rotahaber and whether he was in any way responsible for publishing opinion columns in Haberdar.
Memis's wife, Pinar Memis, told CPJ that her husband decided to prepare his own defense for the trial because they could not afford legal fees. The Turkish legal system allows defendants to ask for a public defender if they cannot afford a lawyer.
"He was not a member of a [terrorist organization], he did not aide them financially. He was just a journalist," Pinar Memis said.
Memis was sent to pretrial detention at Silivri Prison in Istanbul on July 25. As of late 2016, he had not been indicted, and no trial date had been set.
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