Turkey detains WSJ reporter for three days

2016-12-31 19:49
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Ankara - Turkey detained a staff journalist for The Wall Street Journal for almost three days without access to a lawyer, the newspaper reported on Saturday, adding to growing concerns over press freedom in the country.

Dion Nissenbaum was taken into custody on Tuesday by police at his Istanbul home, for allegedly violating a ban on publishing images from an Islamic State group (ISIS) video, the newspaper said on its website.

Although the paper provided no further details, ISIS jihadists last week shared a video purportedly showing two Turkish soldiers captured in Syria being burned alive.

Ankara said earlier this week there was no confirmation of the ISIS claims.

The 49-year-old American correspondent was held for two-and-a-half days without access to lawyers or contact with his family, the WSJ said, adding for most of the period, it "couldn't determine" his location.

His detention comes a day after one of Turkey's best-known investigative journalists, Ahmet Sik, was charged with "making terror propaganda" on behalf of those alleged to be behind the failed coup in July and Kurdish rebels.

According to the P24 Platform for Independent Journalism, 118 journalists have been arrested during the state of emergency imposed after the attempted putsch against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Istanbul police authorities had no immediate reaction to the WSJ report.

However, Ankara insists it does not jail journalists because of their job.

The WSJ's editor-in-chief Gerard Baker said although the paper was "relieved that Dion was released unharmed after nearly three days, we remain outraged at his peremptory detention, without any contact with his family, legal counsel or colleagues".

The paper claimed plainclothes officers detaining the journalist told him he would be deported, comments heard by another WSJ member of staff who had been on the phone with Nissenbaum at the time. This threat was later dropped, Nissenbaum said.

Nissenbaum said he was "physically comfortable and treated well" during his time in a detention centre outside Istanbul.

He was released on Friday and has now left Turkey for the United States accompanied by his family, the WSJ added.

He thanked well-wishers on Twitter, describing his detention as a "very trying ordeal".

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