TRT haber | Imprisoned in Turkey | July 29, 2016

Medium:Internet, Radio, Television
Beats Covered:Business, Corruption, Crime, Culture, Human Rights, Politics, Sports, War
Local or Foreign:Local
Length of Sentence:Not Sentenced
Reported Health Problems:No

An Istanbul court ordered Seyid Kılıç, a production technician for news and radio channels of the state broadcaster TRT, to be detained pending trial on July 29, 2016, according to the indictment on his case and that of several other journalists rounded up as part of a sweeping purge of suspected followers of exiled preacher Fethullah Gülen. The Turkish government accuses Gülen of maintaining a terrorist organization and "parallel state structure" (FETÖ/PDY, as the government calls it) within Turkey and alleges that it masterminded a failed July 2016 military coup.

CPJ was unable to determine the date Kılıç was first taken into custody.

When the trial started in March 2017, an Istanbul court ordered Kılıç and several of the other journalists with whom he was being tried to be released while the case was heard. However, authorities brought fresh charges and the journalists were ordered to remain in custody, according to reports. Authorities ordered an investigation into the judges who had ordered the release and they were relieved of duty, according to reports.

In the original indictment, all but one co-accused were charged with "being a member of an armed [terrorist] organization," which carries up to 10 years in prison. The second indictment listed the charges as "attempting, through violence and force, to disrupt and replace the order as recognized by Turkey's Constitution" and "attempting through violence and force to eliminate or prevent Parliament from carrying out its duties." Both charges carry a maximum life sentence without parole.

CPJ found both indictments to be similar to those presented at trials of other journalists in Turkey. Prosecutors cited as evidence in these cases journalistic activity or acts of free speech and communication, or cited circumstantial evidence such as being employed by a certain media outlet or having an account at a bank allegedly linked to Gülenists.

The first indictment accused the defendants of manipulating the public perception of FETÖ to turn citizens against the government, which prosecutors argued, made the journalists members of the group that Turkey alleges is behind the attempted coup. The second indictment, which was presented as an addition to the original case, argued that the journalists should be held responsible for more than alleged membership to the group.

Prosecutors presented as evidence against Kılıç a post that he wrote on his blog Haberinnotu in September 2014, in which he praised a pro-Gülen charity; his social media activity; and his account at Bank Asya, which the government alleged was a Gülenist institution. The second indictment listed as evidence the bank; Kılıç's mobile phone activity; his travel abroad; and communication records with people who were wanted or were on trial for alleged Gülenist activity. Some of these people had the Bylock app on their phones, according to the authorities, who say the application is of being a FETÖ member. Kılıç had the app installed on his phone, according to the indictment.

It also said that Kılıç was associated with Gülenists through his past employment by an outlet owned by Samanyolu media. The indictment did not state why traveling abroad was significant.

He was being detained at Silivri Prison in Istanbul.

Kılıç was not included on CPJ's 2016 prison census because at the time we could not determine if his arrest was linked to his journalism.

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