NEWS CENTER - Imprisoned JINNEWS News Director Safiye Alağaş said: “The oppression will not last forever, it cannot. At some point, humanity will say a stop to it. Even though we are behind bars, we are proud to be on right side.”
As part of the investigation carried out by the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor's Office, 16 journalists out of 22 people were detained on June 8 were arrested on June 16 with the accusation oF 'being a member of a terrorist organisation'. One of the imprisoned journalists, JINNEWS News Director Safiye Alağaş, answered the questions of Evrensel newspaper from Diyarbakır Women's Closed Prison.
Stating that they experienced a tiragicomic situation, Alağaş said: “I do not know where to start. The entire public knows very well the allegations and accusations against us during our detention and arrest are full of unlawfulness. I don't feel the need to explain it again.”
FROM POLICE TO JOURNALIST: WHY DID YOU WROTE THAT STORY?
Stating that her house and her agency JINNEWS were raided at 05:00 in the morning, Alagaş said: "Neither us nor our lawyers were not informed about the fact that our office was also raided. They opened the door themselves and stormed our houses. I don't even know what they took. One day later, I learned from our attorneys that our workplace was also raided. My home was searched for an hour. My phone and my brother's phone and computer were confiscated. There is a confidentiality decision in the file. For 8 days, we did not know what we were accused of. Neither our attorneys nor we were able to learn what were were accused of. For 8 days, the police tried to produce a crime to accuse us with, they tried to create evidence. At the end of 8 days, I gave a statement at the police station. The police put about 50 news stories in the file and asked questions one by one. They asked absurd questions like ‘Why did you write these stories? Who wrote this story?”
Stating that they allegedly used the terms used by “the terrorist organisation in the news stories, Alağaş said: "We were accused of using the word isolation. They told me that it was a word used by 'the organisation' and asked if I used that word on the order of the organisation. I have never been asked such a stupid question in the 14 years I worked as a journalist. You see how absurd the reasons for our arrests are."
Stating that she was referred to the prosecutor's office after she gave her statement to the police, but the prosecutor sent her to the judge with a request for arrest without even taking her to the judge room, Alagaş said: ”We were exposed to many violations of rights during this process. Especially in the police vehicle, they played racist songs at full blast. The police chief threatened us many times. I did not remain silent to their threats, I objected, so I had an argument with them.”
'JOURNALISTS ARE WHAT MAKES THE SOCIETY BREATHE'
Alağaş made the following statements in the continuation of her letter: “The government is doing its best not to suffocate the society. Everyone should know that everything they do in panic right now is an indication of the fact that they are losing. Journalists are what makes the society breathe. And we will continue to be that breathe of air. Those who do not remain silent disturbs him as hell. The oppression will not last forever, it cannot. At some point, humanity will say a stop to it. Even though we are behind bars, we are proud to be on right side.”
'OUR STRUGGLE IS A MATTER OF CONSCIENCE AND ETHICS'
Journalists have been subjected to all kinds of injustice for centuries. Exile, murder, detention, punishment... We are the last victims. During this 100-year period, nothing has stopped us from doing our job. Still, they won't be able to stop us. Our struggle for journalism is a matter of conscience and ethics. They want to destroy justice and destroy our consciences. They understood that they could not stop us by taking our lives. Now they are trying to destroy our conscience. People who have lost their conscience or have lost the voice of conscience are half-dead. They can not make us take a step back from doing our job. We will continue to write the truth everywhere, inside or outside.”
Drawing attention to the solidarity of the people when they were detained, Alağaş said: “We witnessed a great solidarity. This gives us strength. We understood that we are not the only ones who do not remain silent to this government. Injustice in the country is not only our problem. It's a problem for everyone living in this country. Especially the problem of us journalists, who are the voice of the society. It should not be forgotten that those who remain silent about this situation and unlawfulness will go through worse situations tomorrow.”
'SOLIDARITY MUST GROW’
At the end of the letter, Alağaş made the following call to her colleagues: “My colleagues and I believe in the power and spirit of solidarity. I want to say to all my colleagues who support us: We will rightfully win. No one should doubt that. What about those who surrender their souls to unjustice? Love to all women and colleagues for their solidarity with us. Of course, we expect solidarity to grow.”