Why is journalist Suzan Zengin still in prison

Why is journalist Suzan Zengin still in prison

Undoubtedly one of the most important issues in international human rights is the issue of unjust imprisonment and political prisoners. In many countries in the world, people are being tried simply because of their thinking, acting, struggling or writing. Many are tortured or undergo bad treatment and violence. Police brutality during raids and arrests are known.

Prison populations are growing in many parts of the world. Updated information on countries included in the previous editions of the World Prison Population List shows that prison populations have risen in 68% of these countries (in 61% of countries in Africa, 68% in the Americas, 87% in Asia, 65% in Europe and 50% in Oceania).

One of these countries is Turkey. In Turkey there are an estimated 8.000 political prisoners. Most of them are pre-trial prisoners and not sentenced yet. Most of the charges are not real; they are fabricated and are part of a conspiracy against the progressive elements of society.

The journalist Suzan Zengin is one example. Her case shows how the government in Turkey tries to hinder and repress people from speaking out the truth. She was arrested on August 29th, 2009 in her home by special police forces in front of her husband and her son. During the raid and her arrest she wasn’t told why she was arrested. The lawyers weren’t allowed to see the indictment case until weeks after her final imprisonment. She has been held in the Woman's Prison in Bakirkoy/ Istanbul until this day. The police is talking about “clear evidence”. That evidence is: phone calls made for Umut publications (she was working for Umut Publications in the Kartal office), bills of electricity and water, phone bills which are obvious to be expenses of the newspaper office. Besides these there are two newspaper articles the police claim that she wrote. The indictment alleges that the articles include “criminal lyrics and elements”. Until today there hasn’t been any lawsuit against the newspaper for these articles.

Besides this Suzan Zengin is being persecuted to be a member of an illegal organization. This persecution takes place with an indictment that doesn’t include any ‘evidence’. She is facing a prison term of up to 15 years.

On August 26, 2010 she was brought to the court hearing but the hearing was postponed to February 2011. The health condition of Suzan Zengin is not very good. She suffers from osteoporosis, an ulcer, hypertension and high cholesterol that she must take regular and continuous medication for.  Some check- ups and tests need to be done periodically.

With such policies the authorities want to silence the progressive mass press and media and other institutions that stand for genuine peace and justice. Suzan Zengin is a prisoner of conscience.

At a 15 February hearing the Istanbul 10th High Criminal Court ruled against the release of the journalist.

Zengin, an employee of the "Worker Peasant" ("Isci Koylu") newspaper, is being held at the Bakirkoy Women and Children's Prison in Istanbul. Her next hearing is scheduled for today 14 June.