Journalist Baransu’s wife appeals to G-20 leaders about husband’s unlawful arrest

The wife of imprisoned journalist Mehmet Baransu, Nesibe, has written an open letter to the leaders of the G-20 countries who will meet in the Mediterranean resort of Antalya on Sunday and Monday in a bid to draw their attention to the arrest of her husband merely for his journalistic activities as well as to decreasing freedoms in Turkey.
Baransu, an outspoken government critic, has been kept under arrest since March 2 for releasing classified documents. The journalist was arrested over documents he had submitted to prosecutors in 2010 prompting a major coup trial known as andquotSledgehammerand” (Balyoz) that implicated military top brass.
andquotMy husband, journalist Mehmet Baransu, has been in the high-security Silivri Prison for eight months for news articles he wrote in 2010. An awarded journalist, Mehmet Baransu has been arbitrarily deprived of his freedom despite the lack of concrete evidence against him. He is currently being tried in over 50 court cases,andquot wrote Nesibe in her letter referring to the dozens of cases her husband is facing.
Baransu has frequently faced prosecution for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and government officials as well as releasing documents claimed to violate confidentiality. The journalist has also been detained and released pending trial four times over the past year in connection with these accusations.
andquotI would like to draw your attention to the fact that universal human rights, the right to a fair trial and freedom of expression have been undermined in our country, where freedom of the press is ignored and journalists are arrested and imprisoned for writing news articles,andquot added Nesibe in her letter.
Turkey is becoming a more difficult place for journalists to do their jobs because many of them are facing legal action just because of their writings or views.
Dozens of journalists are being prosecuted on charges of insulting the president or government officials while critical media outlets and journalists are prevented, through an accreditation ban, from covering important events attended by the president or government members.
The authorities have even barred some journalists and media organizations such as Todayand’s Zaman, Zaman and SandOzcandu and the Cihan news agency from covering the G-20 summit by not giving them accreditation.
The Washington-based rights watchdog Freedom House has ranked Turkey among the andquotNot Freeandquot countries in its latest press freedom report earlier this year, noting that Turkeyand’s media environment deteriorated further as the government has moved more aggressively to close the space available for dissent through new legal measures and intimidation.


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