VIENNA, 12 March 2012 – The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, today welcomed the release of four Turkish journalists from prison, including award-winning journalists Nedim Şener and Ahmet Şık.
“I am very happy that the journalists are free. This is a long-awaited moment not only for them, their families and their loved ones, but for all of us who have been following their trial in and outside of Turkey,” said Mijatović.
According to the first media reports, the court's reasoning for the release was the probability of the crime's qualification being subject to change and the time suspects spent under arrest. The Representative expressed hope that the trial will be finalized soon and the charges will be dropped.
“Democracy can not properly function without the right to free expression. I hope that very soon we will have positive news from the other ongoing trials against journalists,” she added.
The four released journalists, Sait Çakır, Coşkun Musluk, Nedim Şener and Ahmet Şık were all detained on 3 March 2011 and accused of being members of the alleged Ergenekon organization.
Mijatović visited Şener and Şık in Silivri prison in December 2011, during her official visit to Turkey. She emphasized that her Office is continuously monitoring all cases of incarcerated journalists, and she will publish updated list of journalists currently in prison in Turkey in the near future. She stressed that her Office is ready to assist Turkey in any media-related reforms.