Press Freedom Witness: The witness, a journalist, testified with regard to the judicial harassment he was subjected to for reporting on government corruption and later, for other critical publications. He also testified about his arrest and detention at Turkey’s Silivri Prison, as well as the different forms of direct and indirect interference with press freedom in Turkey.
The witness declared that in 2013, he was fired from his job at a newspaper for reporting on corruption involving then prime minister Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party. In 2015, the witness Güven became Editor-in-Chief of Nokta a Turkish biweekly magazine sympathetic to the opposition Gülen movement and critical of the ruling Government. From this time, the magazine was drowned in court cases, pressure was put on advertisers, and three consecutive issues of the magazine were consecutively seized by the authorities. On 2 November 2015, the witness and his assistant were arrested and sent to Silivri prison. During his time in prison, both were exposed to a number of different human rights violations, including prolonged solitary confinement. After two months, the witness was conditionally released pending trial. In the aftermath of the 2016 attempted coup d’État, following an Emergency Decree, Nokta magazine was closed, all properties confiscated, and an arrest warrant was issued for the witness and his assistant. The witness fled to Greece with his wife and two children, while his assistant is in prison serving a 22.5 year-long sentence handed down against him and the witness for allegedly participating in the attempted coup d’État. The witness also testified about the continuing risk he faces outside of Turkey, which prompted him to relocate to Germany. He has appeared in several hit lists from Turkish intelligence services targeting academics and journalists living abroad, while his brother, mother and father in Turkey have been harassed by the authorities on numerous occasions.