The change of year has not meant a change of circumstances for the 177 journalists who, according to The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), spent New Year’s Eve in prison. Following reports from the EFJ national affiliates, 177 journalists spent New Year’s Eve in prison in Europe: 159 in Turkey; 11 in Azerbaijan; 5 in Russia; 2 in Ukraine. In Turkey, a significant number of journalists continued to be detained on charges related to alleged terrorism, while others convicted in 2018 received heavy imprisonment sentences, including life sentences. According to the EFJ no progress has been recorded concerning journalists currently serving life-imprisonment or very long imprisonment sentences and they have issued a strong call for release of all imprisoned journalists in Europe.
In an act of solidarity the NUJ has decided to adopt jailed journalist Ayşe Düzkan. Ayşe, is a member of the board of Disk-Is, one of the NUJ’s sister unions in Turkey and has been defending herself for the last 18 months at various court hearings. Finally she was indicted earlier this month and was sentenced to 18 months in jail. The Istanbul court jailed her and other colleagues on charges of “propagandising for a terrorist organisation”.
It’s some 6 weeks since the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post columnist in what, on the basis of the evidence so far, was a state sponsored killing, which took place in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. To date the Saudi ruling elite, in the person of crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto head of state, claim to know nothing of the atrocity, but have arrested 18 people who are alleged to have been involved in the operation.