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Journalist with severe kidney disease in prison for 8 months pre-trial detention

Emre Soncan, a reporter who has a severe kidney disease, is still in prison after seven months because of his association with being a member of Gulen movement, which the Turkish Government recognizes as ”FETO” terror organization. In the treatment of his kidney disease, Soncan must have a strict diet, and the prison environment is not good for his health.

According to his indictment, Soncan has been accused of criticising Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Additionally, Turkish prosecutors have accused Soncan of depositing his money in Bank Asya, which has ties to the Gulen Movement but the bank has been defunct since 2016 after being seized by the state. On Thursday, during Soncan’s defence hearing he argued that the Gulen Movement is not a terrorist organisation and depositing money in a bank cannot be a crime.

Current prison conditions are inhumane. For example, while during his first night in custody, Soncan was incarcerated with thirteen other people in a three-person cell. Soncan stated that the conditions were so bad that he wanted to die on the first night:

“I do not have a wife, and I have not got children. I love one woman, and I cannot see her because of the rules of the prison. Do you want to die anytime? I wanted to die on the first night of the custody process. We were thirteen people in a small cell. I did not see the prosecutor; he did not ask any questions to me. I think he is blaming an imagined person in the court, not me because he has not seen me at all. I want to obtain my freedom because I am not guilty. ”

It is likely that Soncan, as well as another 28 journalists’ detention in prison, will continue after the court’s decision.

Selim Alp Doğaner

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