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Journalist Parıldak re-arrested on the day she was ordered released

Ayşenur Parıldak, a journalist rearrested on the day of her release, on the verge of suicide per her attorney, İrem Danacı, reported by Cumhuriyet reporter Alican Uludağ. Following report mainly translation of Uludağ report with some additions at the end, and some shortening by WHatti.

Ayşenur Parıldak, a 27-year-old former reporter for Zaman, a newspaper closed by the Turkish government in March 2016, was ordered released pending trial on terrorism charges on May 2, 2017. However, following a last-minute objection from the prosecutor eight hours after the order for her release, she was re-arrested the same day, before she could be released. Parıldak’s attorney, İrem Danacı, who is appealing the decision to re-arrest her client, said her client, who has been imprisoned for nine months said that because of her unjust imprisonment she has “thought of suicide several times” and contemplated hanging herself with a clothesline. In a statement during the May 2 hearing, Parıldak herself said she had considered and even attempted suicide, but convinced herself not to go through with it only because of her hope that the May 2 hearing might secure her release.

Parıldak had only been a journalist for about two years when she was arrested on terror charges on August 11, 2017 in the aftermath of the July 15 coup attempt. She was being tried in custody in the 14th Felony Criminal Court of Ankara. The court’s May 2 order for her to be freed pending trial noted that evidence collection had been largely completed and what evidence could not be collected did not include anything that could show decisive evidence of guilt. However, on the same day, before Parıldak could be released, the prosecutor objected to the court’s decision, on the grounds of a “strong suspicion” of guilt. Eight hours later, the court issued a decision ordering Parıldak’s re-arrest. In the hours between the decision to release Parıldak and the second, contradictory decision for her re-arrest, her mother had been waiting at the entrance to the prison where Parıldak was being held. Her mother waited for nearly 11 hours, and collapsed when she heard that the court, which had ordered her daughter freed just hours earlier, had now ordered her re-arrest.

Attorney İrem Danacı has appealed the decision to re-arrest Ms. Parıldak. In her filing, Danacı said the initial finding that Parıldak should be released pending trial requires that she be immediately freed from prison, and pointed to the fact that the prosecution acted in reaction to social media coverage of the release order. Danacı  said, “My client, who should have been released within two hours was not released at all owing to illegal interventions. Upon the objection of the prosecutor, the same court that had issued an order for my client’s release at 12:30 issued a new order for her arrest at 20:10 on the same day. Her release was de facto prevented and 8 hours later the court issued a new order for her arrest in open violation of the law and common practice.” Danacı also emphasized that the decision to order Parıldak re-arrested violated precedents set by previous decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and the terms of the European Convention on Human Rights.

A petition on change.org urging solidarity with and moral support to Parıldak and concern about her continuing confinement has gathered over 1300 signatures. The next hearing in her case is scheduled for September.

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