Turkey releases 3 journalists in trial over Libya coverage

An Istanbul court on Thursday released three journalists from custody, after first hearing in a trial in which they were accused of revealing state secrets related to death of Turkish intelligence officers in Libya.

They were among six journalists who had been in pre-trial detention since March. The other three will remain behind bars.

The next hearing has been scheduled for Sept. 9.

A total of seven journalists and one civil servant are on trial for their coverage of the funeral of National Intelligence Organisation (MIT), officers allegedly killed in Libya and for revealing their identities.

Meanwhile, six journalists were in detention, the seventh in Germany and being tried in absentia. The civil servant was not in custody.

According to Amnesty International’s Turkey campaigner Milena Buyum, it is deeply disappointing and incomprehensible that all six were not released.

Prosecutors are seeking up to 10 years in jail for each of the defendants for violating intelligence laws.

Turkey supports Libya’s UN-backed government in the capital, Tripoli, and has sent military equipment and training personnel in its fight against the warlord Khalifa Haftar.

The journalists who remained behind bars are opposition media outlet Oda TV’s Editor-in-Chief Baris Pehlivan, nationalist daily Yenicag’s columnist Murat Agirel and reporter Hulya Kilinc.

The indictment cites, among other reports and social media posts, Oda TV’s coverage in March of the funeral of an intelligence officer who allegedly died in Libya.

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The outlet obtained the images of the funeral in the Aegean city of Manisa from a media official at a local municipality.

The other four journalists belonged to pro-Kurdish daily Yeni Yasam, nationalist daily Yenicag and leftist daily Birgun.

However, Oda TV’s Baris Terkoglu, Yeni Yasam’s Ferhat Celik and Aydin Keser were released on probation. (NAN)



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