Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office referred the file of Yıldız, who has been jailed since March, to Istanbul
CANSU PİŞKİN, ISTANBUL
Journalist Rawin Sterk Yıldız, a reporter for Rudaw TV, was arrested on 29 February 2020 while covering the refugee crisis on the Turkish-Greek border on the allegation of “border breach.” Yıldız was subsequently transferred to Ankara on 3 March and a confidentiality order was imposed on his file before being jailed pending trial on 6 March on the charge of “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization.”
Yıldız’s lawyer Sercan Korkmaz told P24 that an indictment against Yıldız has still not been issued despite five months having passed since his arrest. The most recent development is that the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office sent Yıldız’s investigation file to Istanbul for lack of jurisdiction. Korkmaz said that all objections and petitions filed on behalf of Yıldız have remained unanswered so far.
2008 investigation relaunched
Reminding that Yıldız was at the Turkish-Greek border area to cover the refugee crisis at the time when he was arrested, Korkmaz explained that “border breach” was not an offense requiring detention and that therefore the Edirne Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office referred Yıldız to Ankara, where a previous investigation against Yıldız, launched in 2008 and dropped for lack of incriminating evidence, was subsequently relaunched. Korkmaz said the journalist was jailed pending trial over his social media posts after an examination of his social media account.
Korkmaz suggested that Yıldız, who has been in detention on remand for five months, has already served the equivalent of the time he would have to spend in prison if he was sentenced.
Korkmaz continued: “Rawin’s imprisonment is an example of the price paid by journalists for doing their jobs in Turkey. The social media posts for which he is accused -- which should be deemed within the scope of freedom of expression to begin with -- are already in the investigation file. Despite the fact that there is no more evidence to be collected, an indictment has yet to be issued, which is unlawful. The objection I filed in May against Yıldız’s detention was only reviewed a month later. The saddest part of it all is that even if Rawin does eventually receive a sentence, he has already spent the amount of time he would have had to serve. So, even if Rawin is released pending trial or tried and acquitted, he has already paid a heavy price for doing journalism in Turkey.”