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Democracy & Good Governance

“Without evidence, ByLock cannot be used as a reason to arrest!”

Prof. Izzet Özgenç, who is one of the founders of the Turkish Penal Code, emphasized that the Bylock arrests made without revealing any evidence are unlawful. Özgenç said, “Depriving thousands of people of their rights and sentencing them to punishment without properly researching if these people have actually used Bylock, how they have used it, whom they have communicated with, and collecting evidence that proves that they are guilty, is a situation that can never be passed by an excuse.” Recently, Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office announced that close to 11 thousand people have been mistakenly investigated for use of ByLock.

Murat Akkoç, a lawyer who researches Bylock, said that “11 thousand people will be removed from the list, in a similar manner to how 113 thousand people were removed from the list of 215 thousand people on September 2016. Bylock user list, which was announced as 215 thousand on September 2016, 113 thousand people will be removed from the list of 11 thousand people from the same reasons. The 91 thousand people remaining on the list is as innocent as the 124 thousand people released in the 16 months period.”

Source: http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/delil-olmadan-bylockla-tutuklamanin-mazereti-olamaz-h110515.html

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There are 624 children under the age of six in prison

The Justice Ministry announced that there are 624 children under the age of six staying in prisons with their mothers. There are 111 babies under age of one in prisons, and 157 children aged between one and two years old. This number increased by 20% compared to last year. It is also reported that 51 of the children in prison are non-Turkish nationals.

Source: http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/cezaevlerinde-alti-yas-altinda-624-cocuk-var-h110536.html

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The court did not discharge Eray’s father once again

Ender Özkul, father of Muhammed Eray (13), was initially sacked from his deputy police chief position and then arrested with decree laws during the State of Emergency. Özkul’s son Eray was diagnosed with Lymphoma cancer and his condition has exacerbated every day he is apart from his father. On January 10 Özkul was brought back to court for trial, but was not discharged. Eray’s mother, Oya Özkul, said on social media that Eray became ill because he was distressed with his father’s arrest. Several Fenerbahçe soccer players have visited Eray in Istanbul to give him morale.

Source: http://aktifhaber.com/15-temmuz/mahkeme-erayin-babasini-yine-tahliye-etmedi-h110472.html

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CPJ announces Press Oppressors awards

CPJ, which is one of the significant promoters and defenders of press freedom and the rights of journalists, recognized world leaders that have significantly harmed the press, undermined norms supporting freedom of the media in their countries and gone beyond to silenced critical voices. Following are the ranking of leaders in five categories:

Most Thin-skinned

Winner: President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey

Turkish authorities have repeatedly charged journalists, news outlets, and social media users for insulting Erdoğan, insulting other Turkish leaders, and insulting “Turkishness” in general. Over the course of 2016, the Turkish judicial system handled 46,193 cases of “insulting the president” or “insulting the Turkish nation, the Republic of Turkey, the parliament, the government, or the institutions of the judiciary,” the daily newspaper Cumhuriyet reported in June 2017, citing figures from the Justice Ministry.

Runner-Up: President Donald Trump, United States

In response to media coverage critical of him, Trump has threatened to “open-up” U.S. libel laws, sue news outlets, and subject their broadcast licenses to review. He regularly attacks outlets and individual journalists on Twitter and in speeches, calling them “sad,” “failing,” or “garbage.” Since declaring his presidential candidacy in 2015, Trump has posted about 1,000 tweets critical of the press. CPJ research shows that when public figures and political leaders lob insults at the media, they encourage self-censorship and expose journalists to unnecessary risk.

Most Outrageous Use of Terror Laws Against the Press

Winner: President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey

Turkey is the world’s worst jailer of journalists, with at least 73 behind bars when CPJ conducted its most recent prison census on December 1. Every journalist jailed for their work in Turkey is under investigation for, or charged with, anti-state crimes — in most cases for belonging to, aiding, or making propaganda for an alleged terrorist organization.

Runner-Up: President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Egypt

Of at least 20 journalists jailed in Egypt at the time of CPJ’s latest prison census, 18 were charged with, or convicted of, anti-state crimes such as aiding or inciting terrorism or belonging to banned groups. In 2017, Sisi’s government passed a new anti-terrorism law that furthered its crackdown on the press by, among other things, enabling authorities to put journalists acquitted of terrorism-related charges on a watch list that restricts their financial and other rights, according to news reports.

Tightest Grip on Media

Winner: President Xi Jinping, China

Beijing, under the increasingly iron grip of Xi, uses a combination of traditional censorship and internet controls to keep the news media in line. China is consistently one of the world’s worst jailers of the press; in 2017 it was the second worst globally, with at least 41 journalists in prison. Most traditional media is controlled by the government, and journalists risk losing their jobs or being banned from traveling if they push the boundaries of censorship directives at their news outlets or in personal blogs. Reporters’ sources and international journalists are also harassed and obstructed. Internet controls include the Great Firewall, human and automated censors, and pressure on technology companies to comply.

Runner-Up: President Vladimir Putin, Russia

Under Putin, independent media has been all but eradicated as journalists experience threats of violence or imprisonment and other types of harassment. His government recently ordered international news outlets including Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty to register as foreign agents (in response to a parallel move by the U.S.), and blocked their journalists from entering Parliament. Russian authorities have tried with varying success to emulate the Chinese model of internet censorship.

Biggest Backslider in Press Freedom

Winner: State Counselor and de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar

CPJ listed Myanmar in 2015 as the ninth most censored country worldwide, but after Suu Kyi’s party took power in 2016, the last five journalists in jail were pardoned and hopes for media freedom were high. However, most of the legal structure that has long restricted the press remains in place and journalists continue to be imprisoned. Security officials obstruct and harass journalists trying to cover what the U.N. has termed “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing” by authorities in the country’s northern Rakhine State. On December 12, two Reuters reporters covering the crisis were arrested on suspicion of violating the Official Secrets Act and held incommunicado for two weeks before being allowed to see their lawyer and families. Reuters reported that if convicted, the pair could face up to 14 years in prison.

Runner-Up: President Andrzej Duda, Poland

Under Duda, the conservative-nationalist government led by the Law and Justice party has dramatically changed the reputation of Poland, which for decades was a symbol of democracy for its peaceful journey from communism to European Union membership. The independent media was a pillar of that transition. More recently, the government has taken direct control of public media and announced plans to change regulations in a way that would force foreign owners of news outlets to give up their majority stakes, according to news reports. Government offices have canceled subscriptions to pro-opposition news outlets, while state-owned companies redirected advertising money to friendly media, according to U.S. watchdog Freedom House. In December, Poland’s media regulator levied a 1.5 million zloty ($415,000) fine on leading news broadcaster TVN24 in relation to its coverage of protests in parliament in 2016, according to news reports which cited critics as saying the government is trying to warn journalists to self-censor. The government’s parallel moves to reform the judiciary prompted the European Commission in December to take the unprecedented step of launching a process intended to suspend the country’s voting rights in the European Union.

Overall Achievement in Undermining Global Press Freedom

Winner: President Donald Trump, United States

The United States, with its First Amendment protection for a free press, has long stood as a beacon for independent media around the world. While previous U.S. presidents have each criticized the press to some degree, they have also made public commitments to uphold its essential role in democracy, at home and abroad. Trump, by contrast, has consistently undermined domestic news outlets and declined to publicly raise freedom of the press with repressive leaders such as Xi, Erdoğan, and Sisi. Authorities in China, Syria, and Russia have adopted Trump’s “fake news” epithet, and Erdoğan has applauded at least one of his verbal attacks on journalists. Under Trump’s administration, the Department of Justice has failed to commit to guidelines intended to protect journalists’ sources, and the State Department has proposed to cut funding for international organizations that help buttress international norms in support of free expression. As Trump and other Western powers fail to pressure the world’s most repressive leaders into improving the climate for press freedom, the number of journalists in prison globally is at a record high.

Source: https://cpj.org/blog/2018/01/press-oppressor-awards-trump-fake-news-fakies.php

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Police Officers That Killed 2 People Are Protected by State of Emergency

Barış Kerem and Oğuzhan Erkul were shot and killed by police officers in the Gazi Quarter of Istanbul. Attorney Meral Hanbayat’s proposal for the detainment of the accused police officers was denied by the Istanbul High Criminal Court on grounds of the Article 23 of State of Emergency laws. Attorney Hanbayat indicates that the “investigations procedures on police officers results without arrests” clause that should be used for legitimate self-defense is being used arbitrarily. Hanabayat will appeal to a higher court by noting that the decision is against the law. Accused police officers have not been dismissed, nor have they faced administrative investigation. Hanbayat stated that police officers are using firearms arbitrarily and often target vulnerable parts of people’s bodies.

Read in Turkish: http://aktifhaber.com//gundem/gazide-polisin-oldurdugu-2-kisinin-davasinda-ohal-korumasi-h110186.html

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Rights groups say 2,278 people tortured, 11 abducted in Turkey in 2017

The Human Rights Association (İHD) and the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV) on Saturday said 2,278 people were tortured and 11 abducted in Turkey during the first 11 months of 2017, Gazeteduvar reported.

Releasing a human rights report in Turkey under an ongoing state of emergency, the IHD and TİHV noted that human rights violations have reached worrying levels in Turkey. Recalling that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government has issued 28 decree-laws since July 20, 2016, and that only five of them were approved on time by Parliament despite the fact that all legislation must be approved in accordance with the Turkish Constitution, the IHD and TİHV underlined that with its state of emergency decrees the government has created guarantees for state officials that they will not be prosecuted for violations committed during the period of emergency rule.

According to the report issued by the two rights organizations, security forces killed 36 people and wounded 12 in extrajudicial killings and by firing arbitrarily into a crowd on the pretext that they did not obey an order to stop, in the first 11 months of 2017.

A total of 695 people including 183 soldiers, 460 militants and 52 civilians were killed and 310 injured during clashes in Turkey.

Twenty-three people including six children were killed and 46 injured in accidents involving armored security vehicles.
A total of 570 people applied to the TİHV as victims of torture; 2,278 faced torture and maltreatment with 423 of such cases took place while in detention.

According to the İHD report, by May 30, 2017, 11 abduction or enforced disappearance cases had been reported in Turkey.
As of Nov. 1, there were 230,735 people in Turkish prisons, including 1,037 with health problems. The prison population numbered 178,089 in 2015 and 154,179 in 2014.

Source: https://turkeypurge.com/rights-groups-say-2278-tortured-11-abducted-turkey-2017

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