İSTANBUL - “Haberin Var Mı” (Have You Heard the News) Initiative criticizes the regulation on criminal execution. Requesting the release of arrested journalists, the Initiative says, "Journalists, whose only crime was to practice their profession, will remain behind bars."
Formed by a group of journalists to raise concerns and publicity about the imprisoned journalists in Turkey, "Haberin Var Mı" (Have You Heard) Initiative has once again requested the release of all arrested journalists across the country amid new coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.
Noting that the 389 prisons in the country are currently full by 121 percent, the Initiative has warned that journalists are at risk.
"According to December figures, there are 208 thousand convicts and 55 thousand arrestees in prisons, including over a hundred journalists.
"Several countries have evacuated prisons in the face of coronavirus risk. With similar concerns, the government of Turkey is also working on an amendment to the periods of criminal execution. However, as far as it is understood, this amendment will apply to the offenses of sexual assault, drug trafficking, theft, tax evasion and human trafficking.
"Journalists, whose only crime was to practice their profession, students and politicians will remain behind bars despite outbreak threat. This attitude is, above all, against the principle of equality of the Constitution.
"While the measure of arrest, which has to be an exception, has been inappropriately used on such grounds as 'suspicion of escape, strong criminal suspicion,' the ones who were arrested due to the opinions they expressed and the news they reported must be released immediately.
"The convicts' periods of criminal execution must be reduced and the ones who have less than 3 years to serve behind bars must be released without any differentiation before they contract the disease.
"According to the criteria of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), expressing and spreading opinions that do not preach violence is a right. Let all journalists imprisoned for solely using this right be released and spend these difficult days with their families."