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Turkey Courts Need Political Independence to Release Jailed Reporter - CPJ

© AP Photo / Emrah GurelTurkish journalists cover their mouths with black ribbons before the trial of Can Dundar, the editor-in-chief of opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet and Erdem Gul, the paper's Ankara representative, outside the courthouse in Istanbul, Friday, April 1, 2016.
Turkish journalists cover their mouths with black ribbons before the trial of Can Dundar, the editor-in-chief of opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet and Erdem Gul, the paper's Ankara representative, outside the courthouse in Istanbul, Friday, April 1, 2016. - Sputnik International
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The advocacy group Committee to Protect Journalists said that political influence on Turkey’s judiciary is likely responsible for a high-court decision on Wednesday to keep journalist Mehmet Baransu locked up as he awaits trial.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Political influence on Turkey’s judiciary is likely responsible for a high-court decision on Wednesday to keep journalist Mehmet Baransu locked up as he awaits trial, the advocacy group Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in a press release.

"Mehmet Baransu is being treated as a dangerous criminal rather than as a journalist who did his job," CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova stated on Wednesday. "[W]e urge the Turkish judicial authorities to exercise their independence from political influence, free him immediately and ensure that he receives a fair and transparent trial."

Turkish authorities imprisoned Baransu, a columnist and correspondent for the privately owned daily newspaper Taraf, on March 1, 2015, on charges that he possessed classified documents.

Turkish journalists gathered to protest against the jailing of opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper's editor-in-chief Can Dundar and Ankara representative Erdem Gul, in Istanbul, December 2015. - Sputnik International
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The government claimed the documents were linked to a 2003 conspiracy by Turkish generals against the country’s current president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was prime minister at the time.

Lately, Erdogan’s administration has arrested reporters and seized control of newspapers and television networks that have produced reports critical of the government.

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