Journalists and academics bear the brunt of the massive crackdown on freedom of expression in Turkey. Scores of them are currently subject to criminal investigations or behind bars. This website is dedicated to tracking the legal process against them.
Cemil Uğur, a reporter for the Mezopotamya news agency (MA), was arrested in a police raid on his home in the eastern Van province on 6 October 2020. Uğur was one of the journalists who reported on allegations that two locals were tortured and thrown out of a chopper by soldiers in Van.
During the raid, anti-terror police confiscated Uğur’s notebooks and digital equipment. Uğur was held in custody for three days. He was accused of “reporting on social incidents to antagonize the state.” During his interrogation on 9 October, Uğur was asked about his phone calls with his sources and whether “he took instructions to write news reports.”
The Van 2nd Criminal Judgeship of Peace issued a gag order on the torture allegations in Van on 13 September 2020. Uğur was asked why he reported on the allegations despite the gag order. Uğur stated they weren’t notified about the restriction. During the police interrogation, it was revealed that Uğur's mobile phone was tapped on 31 March 2020 as part of the investigation carried out by the Van Chief Public Prosecutor's Office. Uğur was read the tapes of the interviews he made with his sources and was asked about "the purpose of his reporting.”
The prosecutor who took Uğur’s statement on 9 October referred the journalist to the Van 3rd Criminal Judgeship of Peace, seeking his imprisonment pending trial. The judgeship jailed Uğur on the grounds that he “reported on social incidents to antagonize the state.” The judgeship wrote in their ruling that Uğur was “not a journalist because he does not hold a press card issued by the Directorate of Communications.”
Uğur was subsequently sent to the Van High-Security Closed Prison.