December 24, 2020
The Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue condemns sentencing a Turkish dissident journalist to 27 years in prison and calls the Turkish authorities to release expression or opinion prisoners
The Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue condemns the judgment against the Turkish dissident journalist Jan Dondar, the former chief editor of “Gomhoreet” Newspaper, which sentences him to 27 years in prison in regard to an opinion case. This is due to an investigative report that he published about Turkey’s weapon supply to Islamists. The report also revealed information which assured that the Turkish intelligence sent weapons to Islamist groups in Syria. The Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue assured its solidarity with him and all opinion prisoners in Turkey.
Dondar has been sentenced to prison for first instance of litigation for five years and ten months as he has been charged of disclosing state’s secrets. Yet this judgment infuriated the Turkish president Rageb TaybErdoghan and has influenced the Supreme Court which cancelled this judgment in 2018 and ordered a new trial for Dondar as charged of spying which has more severe penalty.
The Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue sees that this judgment against Dondar is a politicized one, lacks legitimacy, and violates turkey’s international commitments in regard to the necessity of respecting freedom of expression and freedom of press. The forum also warns against the great regression suffered by the freedom of the press within the severe attack by Erdoghan regime which aims at silencing voices of political opposition in Turkey and turned to the biggest prison for journalists in the world after imprisoning 175 journalists during the recent years and excluding not less than 168 journalists who had to escape abroad. In addition, the authorities has blocked access to about half million websites till the end of 2019. Besides, the freedom of the press index has regressed in 2020 to occupy the grade no. 154 among 180 states.
The Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue calls the Turkish authorities to withdraw politicized judgments against journalists and release opinion prisoners unconditionally and nonsuiting all charges against them after being targeted by severe campaign by Turkey to eradicate critics and dissident.