Harassment and intimidation . Turkey prosecutes a representative of “Reporters Without Borders”

At a time when the defenders denounce “judicial harassment”, a new trial has begun against a representative of the non-governmental organization “Reporters Without Borders” in Turkey and other human rights defenders accused of carrying out “terrorist propaganda”.

The representative of Reporters Without Borders, Ayrol Androglu, is expected to face a 14-and-a-year prison sentence for participating in the campaign in solidarity with Ozgur Gundim, a daily newspaper that was closed in 2016 on charges of association with Kurdish rebels, as well as journalist Ahmed Nesin, president of the Foundation. Human Rights, Shebnem Koror Vinangje.

These three civil society activists in Turkey were acquitted in 2019 after a long trial related to this same case, but an appeals court reversed this decision last year, which led to the opening of a new trial.

Scare the media!

Androglu stated that, after a short hearing at the Çalayan court in Istanbul, the trial was postponed until May 6, rejecting the “ridiculous” accusations against him, considering the trial based on the aim of intimidating the media and civil society.

“This trial is like the sword of Damocles over our heads,” said the 51-year-old Androglu, who is appreciated for his widespread activity in defending media freedom in Turkey under extremely difficult circumstances.

Judicial harassment

It is noteworthy that 17 organizations concerned with freedom of the press, including “Reporters Without Borders”, had called on the Turkish authorities a few days ago to drop the charges, denouncing what they described as “judicial harassment.”

Androglu and the other two defendants are also being tried on charges of “promoting crime” and “inciting crime.”

The arrest and prosecution of Androglu in June 2016 sparked protests in Turkey and abroad.

It is noteworthy that Turkey ranks 154 out of 180 in the press freedom ranking for 2020, issued by Reporters Without Borders.