Expression Interrupted

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.

Şehriban Abi

Şehriban Abi

Şehriban Abi, a reporter for the all-female news agency JinNews, was arrested in a police raid on her home in the eastern Van province on 6 October 2020. She 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 Abi’s notebooks and digital equipment. Abi was held in custody for three days. She was accused of “reporting on social incidents to antagonize the state.” During her interrogation on 9 October, Abi was asked about her notes on news, press releases, her sources and her phone calls with her colleagues. Abi said  he works for JinNews as a freelancer. She denied the allegations against her. During the police interrogation, it was revealed that Abi’s mobile phone was tapped on 31 March 2020 as part of the investigation carried out by the Van Chief Public Prosecutor's Office. Abi was read the tapes of the interviews she made with her sources and was asked about "the purpose of her reporting.”

 

Abi and three other journalists arrested as part of the same investigation were taken to the courthouse the same day. The prosecutor asked Abi about her notes on her reports and her phone calls with her sources. The prosecutor who took Abi’s statement referred the journalist to the Van 3rd Criminal Judgeship of Peace, seeking her imprisonment pending trial on the charge of “membership of a terrorist organization.”

 

The judgeship jailed Abi on the grounds that she “reported on social incidents to antagonize the state.” The judgeship wrote in their ruling that Abi was “not a journalist because she does not hold a press card issued by the Directorate of Communications.”

 

Abi was subsequently sent to the Van T Type Prison.

 

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