Dihaber | Imprisoned in Turkey | December 06, 2016

Job:Internet Reporter, Photographer
Beats Covered:Corruption, Crime, Culture, Human Rights, Politics, War
Local or Foreign:Local
Length of Sentence:5 years to <10 years
Reported Health Problems:No

Police in Turkey's eastern Elazığ province detained Mehmet Güleş, a reporter for the pro-Kurdish Dihaber, on December 6, 2016, the daily newspaper Evrensel and Dihaber reported. Güleş was detained while he was following a police operation of house raids which ended with the arrests of at least six others on suspicion of "being member of a [terrorist] organization," according to these press reports. Police asked Güleş for identification while he was reporting on the process, then told him that he was wanted to testify in another investigation and detained him too.

Dihaber reported the next day that a court in Elazığ ordered Güleş jailed pending trial on the charge of "being member of a [terrorist] organization." The charge was based in part on his phone conversations with sources and his reports for the pro-Kurdish DİHA news agency, which the government had closed by emergency decree in October 2016. Güleş's reporting in real time from street battles between ethnic-Kurdish youth and Turkish security forces in Silopi was also cited as evidence against him. The Elazığ court found that Güleş praised the outlawed Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) and criticized security forces in his reports, according to Dihaber. Güleş was sent to Elazığ Prison pending trial, his employer reported.

On May 3, 2017, a court in the eastern Turkish city of Elazığ sentenced Güleş to nine years, four months, and 15 days in prison on charges of "being a member of a [terrorist] organization" and "making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization," his employer reported. Dihaber reported that the journalist would appeal the verdict and that Güleş denied the charges. His lawyers argued that police illegally tapped his phone, and that the conversations used as evidence against him were with journalistic sources, Dihaber reported.

CPJ was unable to determine which lawyer was representing the journalist.

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