Our reporter Ahmet Şık, who has been detained as part of the operation to silence Cumhuriyet, is challenging the unjust detention order at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and is seeking ‘the issuing of a ruling for his immediate release.’
In the application made by our paper’s lawyers on Şık’s behalf, it was recalled that Şık was detained for writing a book in which he gave an account of the Gulenists’ organisation within the police, spending one year and one week in jail, and the unprinted book was removed from circulation. Cited in precedent in the application, in which it is stated that Şık was acquitted last month in this trial that had been brought by the Gulenists organised in the police and judiciary, was the violation ruling issued by the ECHR in 2014 over his detention in this trial. In the application, in which it is recalled that the ECHR ruled in this decision that Şık’s ‘right to freedom and security’ and ‘freedom of expression’ had been violated, it is said, ‘The unjust detaining of journalists has now reached chronic proportions and the applicant’s detention is a symbolic example of this.’ Stated in the application, in which it is noted that the ECHR in its 2014 Ahmet Şık decision perceived a journalist being detained and detention being prolonged to be intimidation and self-censorship, is ‘The relationship between this application in respect of the 2017 detention and the subject-matter and findings made in the Şık-Turkey ruling point to a large threat originating from the judiciary to both the applicant and all journalists. There exists parallelism between the applicant’s detention and the detention of Cumhuriyet’s columnists and managers. The detentions targeting Cumhuriyet’s columnists, managers and lawyers and the detention targeting the applicant are not one-offs but point to the implementation of systematic “judicial harassment”.’
FETO charge dropped
With it stressed that the application that Şık made to the Constitutional Court three and a half months ago has not yet been examined, application was made for joinder of this application to the ECHR and the application made to the ECHR by the Cumhuriyet newspaper columnists, managers and lawyers who were detained two months before Şık. Stated in the application is, ‘Ahmet Şık has been a journalist for 28 years and is being targeted by the political rulership for the reports he has made and the books he has written. The applicant has been systematically subjected to unjust investigation and prosecution on account of his journalistic activities.’ With it recalled that Şık was charged with ‘making Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organisation (FETO) Propaganda’ in the detention order, but it was asserted in the indictment that ‘he aided the PKK and DHKP-C,’ it is said, ‘The DHKP-C accusation has replaced the FETO accusation. However, three of the applicant’s five news reports cited as forming the basis of crimes were reports that directly led to the passing of the detention order on FETO charges by the penal judgeship of the peace. The prosecution has stepped back due either to the lack of credibility in view of the applicant having been detained five years ago through this organisation’s actions for the books the applicant wrote in opposition to this organisation or the potential public reaction, and dropped the FETO charge. This situation shows the detentions to be unlawful.’
In the application, in which it is stated that eight Twitter posts, four news reports and also a sentence he was alleged to have spoken at a panel on press freedom were cited as grounds for Şık’s detention, it is said, ‘No act has been attributed to the applicant apart from these expressions of opinions and reports.’ It is stressed that an investigation had previously been opened into one of the reports for which Şık stands charged and a decision was taken to discontinue the proceedings, and, regarding the others, prosecution is being conducted over them even though the four-month limit for bringing proceedings in the Press Law has expired.
With it stated in the application that Şık’s rights to ‘freedom and security, and freedom of expression’ enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights have been violated, and there has additionally been conduct contrary to the provision, ‘The restrictions permitted under this Convention to the said rights and freedoms shall not be applied for any purpose other than those for which they have been prescribed’ in Article 18 of the Convention, the issuing of a ruling is sought for Şık’s immediate release and 20,000 euro in damages.
Ahmet is his own precedent