Journalist Gök, jailed since April, released with a travel ban

MA Editor Abdurrahman Gök was released with a travel ban.

On 25 April, coordinated dawn raids in Turkey targeted homes and offices of over a hundred people, including journalists, lawyers, rights defenders, political activists and artists in 21 provinces, based on unclear charges.

128 people were taken into custody, including 10 journalists who were referred to court after giving their statements to the police in the scope of an investigation launched by Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

The detained journalists included Mesopotamia News Agency (MA) editor Abdurrahman Gök and reporters Ahmet Kanbal and Mehmet Şah Oruç; editor-in-chief of Yeni Yaşam daily newspaper Osman Akın; the publisher of the only Kurdish print newspaper in Turkey, ​​Xwebûn Weekly, Kadri Esen; JinNews reporter Beritan Canözer, and journalists Mehmet Yalçın, Mikail Barut, Salih Keleş and Remzi Akkaya.

After their referral to court, Abdurrahman Gök, Beritan Canözer, Mehmet Şah Oruç and Remzi Akkaya were sent to prison in Amed on 27 April on charges of "membership in a terrorist organization" and “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”. Canözer was released on 23 June, after the indictment against her was accepted.

The second hearing of the lawsuit filed against Mezopotamya Agency (MA) Editor Abdurrahman Gök for allegedly "being an illegal organisation member" and "making propaganda for an illegal organisation" was held at Diyarbakır 5th Heavy Penal Court on Tuesday.

So-called witness Ümit Akbıyık was connected to the hearing via Audio and Video Information System (SEGBİS).

Gök's lawyer Resul Temur asked the witness whether he knew about the murder of Kemal Kurkut. Akbıyık said that he knew about it from the press but he did not know who took the photograph.

Gök stated that he has been under arrest for 8 months because he had exposed the Diyarbakır Police Department with his photographs of Kemal Kurkut. He said: "A journalist does not do journalism using the language of the government."

Lawyer Mehmet Emin Aktar said that the witness was a permanent confessor of the police.

MLSA lawyer Veysel Ok said that Gök was on trial for "disturbing the government". Emphasising that Pel Production is a legal company, Ok said that Gök did not work for the company.

The court ruled for Gök's release on condition of a ban on leaving the country. The hearing was adjourned to 12 March.

Following the court ruling, Gök was released from prison, met by his family members and a number of colleagues from Dicle Fırat Journalists Association (DFG), Mesopotamia Women Journalists Associations (MKG), Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) and Society of South-Eastern Journalists.

Abdurrahman Gök is a photo reporter and is also internationally known for his journalistic work, as it was only thanks to his efforts that the public learned that the death of the young art student Kemal Kurkut, who had been shot dead by a police officer on the fringes of the Newroz celebrations in Amed in March 2017, was in fact a premeditated murder. Gök had pressed the shutter release of his camera eight times and documented that the official version, according to which Kurkut was a "suicide bomber", was only invented by the police. Nevertheless, the shooter was acquitted.