Posts Tagged ‘supporting terrorist groups’

Turkey: Cumhuriyet journalists appear in court, sentenced to jail on terror charges — “Justice did not take place. Journalism and peoples’ right to get news were sentenced.” — “It’s a shocking disgrace that with no evidence.”

April 26, 2018

Turkey again under fire for deteriorating press freedom

International rights groups criticized the case as emblematic of deteriorating press freedom in Turkey. Cumhuriyet is one of the newspapers critical of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

People gather outside the Cumhuriyet trial near Istanbul (Getty Images/AFP/Y. Akgul)

A Turkish court on Wednesday sentenced 14 staff members of the country’s main opposition newspaper, Cumhuriyet, to prison on charges of supporting terrorist groups.

Rights groups, including Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders, had sharply criticized the case amid broader fears about a crackdown on press freedom in Turkey.

Read more: European Rights Court condemns Turkey over journalist jailings

The verdict:

  • Prosecutors charged a total 17 Cumhuriyet employees with supporting groups the government has labeled terrorist organizations.Three defendants were acquitted.
  • The groups allegedly supported included the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), far-left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) and the Gulen movement, which the government accused of masterminding a failed coup in 2016.
  • The paper’s chairman, Akin Atalay, was sentenced to 8 years, one month and 15 days in prison, but would be set free pending an appeal. Atalay was the only defendant who was still in prison at the time of the verdict.
  • Editor-in-Chief Murat Sabuncu and prominent investigative journalist Ahmet Sik were both sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison.
  • The remaining 11 convicted defendants received prison sentences of varying lengths.
  • The case against the former-editor-in-chief Can Dundar, who is living in exile in Germany, would continue separately.

Read more: Turkish police break up press freedom rally after ‘Cumhuriyet’ arrests

What were the reactions?

Sabuncu told DW after the trial: “These [sentences] will not hold us back from doing the profession with courage … this is Turkey’s and Turkish justice’s shame. I hope that this decision will be overturned by the high court. I call on everyone living in Turkey to be courageous.”

Caroline Stockford, the Turkey Advocacy Coordinator at International Press Institute (IPI), told DW: “It’s a shocking disgrace that with no evidence and many breaches of protocol in the courtroom that such decisions can be reached. They are absolutely baseless and ridiculous.”

Opposition lawmaker Sezgin Tanrikulu from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) told DW: “Justice did not take place. Journalism and peoples’ right to get news were sentenced.”

Read more: Press freedom index: Turkey remains world’s worst jailer of journalists

What is CumhuriyetThe daily newspaper, whose name translates to “Republic,” is one of the most prominent media outlets critical of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It is also the country’s oldest daily newspaper — it was founded in 1924, one year after the creation of the modern Turkish state.

Free press under threat: The Turkish government under Erdogan has governed the country under an emergency law passed after the failed 2016 coup. Authorities have used the decree to arrest opposition journalists and shut down several media organizations.

Read more: ‘State of emergency being used to silence dissident voices’

amp/sms (dpa, AFP, Reuters)


Emails Indicated Saudi Plan To Attack Qatar — To “solve everyone’s problems”

September 17, 2017
Image of the UAE Ambassador to the US, Yousef Al-Otaiba [File photo]

Image of the UAE Ambassador to the US, Yousef Al-Otaiba [File photo]

Saudi Arabia was preparing for a military attack on its neighbour Qatar, leaked emails dated May 2017 appear to show.

The emails between UAE Ambassador in Washington, Yousef Al-Otaiba, and US diplomat Elliott Abrams in May 2017 claim that Saudi came close to “conquering” Qatar and this would “solve everyone’s problems”, according to the Emirati official.

Al-Otaiba added that deceased Saudi monarch King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz “came pretty close to doing something in Qatar” a few months before his death in January 2015.

Abrams was surprised by the revelation, the emails show, declaring: “I did not know that. It is dramatic.”

“How hard could it be?” he asked, adding:

Foreigners won’t interfere … Promise the Indians a raise, promise the police a raise and who is going to fight to the death?

Al-Otaiba replied: “That was the conclusion. It would be an easy lift.”

Khalil Al-Anani: The shifts in the Gulf crisis

Alleged leaked emails between UAE Ambassador in Washington, Yousef Al-Otaiba, and US diplomat Elliott Abrams from May 2017, suggesting Saudi Arabia was preparing for a military attack on its neighbour Qatar.

Abrams went on to say that former US President Barack Obama would not have supported an attack on Qatar “but the new guy…” in reference to current American Presisdent Donald Trump.

In the emails, Abrams suggested Jordan control Qatar. “The Hashemites need to control Qatar … that would solve their financial problems and Qatar’s support of extremism.” as he put it.

It is noteworthy that Abrams served as deputy assistant to US President George W. Bush and as his deputy national security adviser.

On 5 June, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain severed diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorist groups in the region.

The four countries also imposed an embargo on Qatar and issued a long list of demands, including the closure of Doha-based news broadcaster Al Jazeera, under the threat of further sanctions.

Qatar has refused to submit, denying charges that it supports terrorism and describing the bloc’s efforts to isolate it as a violation of international law and an infringement of its national sovereignty.

A spokesperson at the UAE embassy in the US told Middle East Eye that she was “not in a position to confirm or deny” the emails were genuine.