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Courthouse Reporter arrested for being followed by whistle-blower Fuat Avni on Twitter stands up before the judge

Ayşenur Parıldak, a former courthouse reporter reporter from the now-closed Zaman daily, has appeared before the judge for the first time in six months.

Parıldak was arrested on Aug. 11, 2016 because a Turkish whistle-blower, Fuat Avni, with nearly 3 million followers in Twitter was one of the Ayşenur’s followers. Answering the questions of the presiding judge,  Parıldak has responded those allegations about herself.

During the defense, Parıldak has drawn attention to a screen shot depicting herself in front of the Supreme Court with a comment stating that “Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court. Look at this photograph carefully. We can’t say for what reason we would come here for the next time.”, said: “There is a picture taken of me in the Supreme Court. I shared it on Instagram and Twitter. However, the comment below the picture does not belong to me. Why would I write something like below the photo? After I was taken into custody, those visuals making something look like I wrote were fabricated in a special software and shared in social media. I did not share something like this.”

She also pointed out those allegations about a pseudonymous account on Twitter, Fuat Avni, and stated that “Fuat Avni has around 3.5 million followers on Twitter. I am only of those 214 followed-people by Avni and there are even some famous journalists that Avni follows. Avni follows almost all law reporters, and I was working as a law reporter as well. In her answer to the question of whether she had a conversation with Fuat Avni, she responded to judge by saying “I did not text him, and I have not heard of Fuat Avni messaging with anyone. I am at the tenth place in the [Zaman] daily. Messaging me means messaging everyone.”

Parıldak also rejected the claims of using “ByLock”, a smart phone application that authorities believe is a communication tool between the members of Fettullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), the name the Turkish government has used in the recent years to refer to the religious movement led by Pennsylvania-based cleric Fethullah Gülen. She underlined that neither of IMEI numbers and phone numbers belong to her.

While Parıldak’s acquit request was rejected, the judge has scheduled May 2, 2017 for Parıldak’s next trial.


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