New twist in gov’t-led prosecution of Zaman’s former editor-in-chief

In a new and bizarre twist, the government-led investigation against former editor-in-chief of the Zaman daily, Ekrem Dumanli, took a new turn when his name was added at the last minute to another judicial probe after the original charges did not hold water due to weak evidence.
A detention warrant was issued for Dumanli as part of a probe against police officers who had carried out operations in December 2013 as part of graft probes and an investigation into Tawhid-Salam, an Iranian-backed terrorist organization.
Even though Dumanli was not named in the 10,559-page indictment that Istanbul Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor Irfan Fidan submitted late last month to the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court, a detention warrant was issued for him.
The police investigation file also did not name Dumanli as a suspect in the probe. Yet his name was later added by the prosecutor in what his lawyers believe is a politically orchestrated scheme to put a veteran journalist behind bars.
and”The prosecution could have just called me and taken my statement,and” Dumanli said, adding that and”I donand’t see any goodwill in this case, nor do I see any justice.and”
Zaman has extensively covered the corruption investigations that implicated senior government officials and some family members of then-Prime Minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Both Zaman and its editors, including Dumanli, wer targeted by the government after the corruption probes were exposed to the public.
The corruption probes were later derailed by the government as the lead investigators, prosecutors and judges were dismissed and later put behind bars on trumped up charges.
A total of 54 police officers, including former senior police chiefs, were detained and later arrested in an operation that began with pre-dawn raids on July 22, 2014. The operations were widely believed to be an act of revenge by the government for the corruption investigation that went public on Dec. 17, 2013 and which implicated people from the inner circles of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party).
The indictment involved 122 suspects, including prominent Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gandulen, journalist Emre Uslu and former police chief Yurt Atayandun. In addition to accepting the indictment, the court issued an arrest warrant for Gandulen and Uslu in absentia.
However, the indictment has been slammed by many critics on the grounds that it is full of false claims, fabricated evidence and paragraphs copied and pasted from private investigator reports.
Emphasizing that they did not receive any notice from the prosecutorand’s office, Dumanliand’s lawyers said and”If the prosecutorand’s office needed Dumanliand’s testimony on something, they should have done it in normal way and summoned our client for testimony over the past 50 days.and”
Dumanli was first taken into custody on Dec. 14, 2014, when the headquarters of the Zaman daily in Istanbul were raided by police, over charges of defaming an al-Qaeda-linked religious group, Tahiiye, through two columns and one article that were published in 2010.
The former editor was accused of being part of an unidentified armed terrorist organization. After spending five days in detention, Dumanli was released pending charges and had a travel ban imposed on him, preventing him from attending overseas conferences.
Dumanliand’s detention drew reactions from domestic and international journalist associations, such as the US-based Freedom House, Amnesty International (AI) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
Dumanli and other suspects in the case are accused of targeting and framing Tahiiye, whose leader — Mehmet Dogan — said in a live interview with CNN Tandurk last year that he andquotloves Osama bin Laden,andquot the slain leader of al-Qaeda.
Zaman and several other Turkish media outlets covered the operation against Tahiiye in 2009 when police found a large cache of weapons including hand grenades. The operation was hailed as a successful crackdown on al-Qaida by the government at the time.
On Oct. 5, Dumanli announced in a statement that he resigned his post as he believed he could not perform his job as the editor-in-chief of the Zaman daily due to the recent pressure on him and the media.


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