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Oda TV journalists arrested on dubious evidence, says lawyer

(BIANET/IFEX) - 22 February 2011 – The documents found on the Oda TV computers which led to the arrest of three employees of the news portal were placed on the hard drive by hackers, attorneys of the journalists say.

Dogan Yurdakul, Publication Director of the news portal, commented on the police raid on the Oda TV office in Istanbul and the homes of four of its employees. Executive Soner Yalcin, General Publications Director Baris Pehlivan and News Director Baris Terkoglu were arrested as a result of the investigation.

According to Yurdakul, his colleagues were arrested on the grounds of a 30-page document found on the hard drives regarding the clandestine ultra-nationalist Ergenekon organization. Ergenekon members have been charged with various crimes staged for the ultimate purpose of overthrowing the government in a military coup. Yurdakul claims that the document was copied to the computers by hackers.

CDs seized from the office reportedly contain footage recorded with a hidden camera dated 10 June 2007, which shows then state ministers Ali Coskun, Cemil Cicek and Abdulkadir Aksu discussing an e-memo published on 27 April 2007.

It was also alleged that notes were found regarding Abdulkadir Aygan, a member of the illegal Gendarmerie Intelligence Anti-Terrorism Unit (JİTEM). The documents and records, labelled "classified", were apparently prepared by a National Intelligence Agency (MİT) unit looking into "reactionary activities".

Oda TV lawyer Serkan Gunel said initial findings suggest the information was stored on the computers via Trojan horses, spam e-mails or viruses. This became clear with a document entitled "National Media 2010" whose author is unknown, Gunel explained. According to his clients, this file was saved on the computers in the cutting room, which is used by hundreds people. The document apparently lacks a digital signature.

As far as videos related to Cemil Cicek and other ministers are concerned, Gunel conceded that Pehlivan did receive such a video, but that it was later erased because it was contrary to the principles of Oda TV to publish voice recordings and footage obtained secretly. Prosecutor Zekeriya Oz did not insist on this issue either, Gunel added.

The document "National Media 2010" was supposedly saved on the Oda TV computers via a virus from another computer. It is said to contain allegations that "the government is under the command of foreign intelligence units, the country's profit was used to bribe foreigners and that the Kemalists were going to be brought down by the Ergenekon operations".

Experts stated that ten documents on the computers of Oda TV were all created on 28 September 2010 at 11:54 a.m. and deleted at the same time.

Kilicdaroglu, Head of the Republican People's Party (CHP), said that Yalcin's arrest was "on the directive of the Chief Prosecution," adding, "and you know that Mr. Recep is the chief prosecutor," referring to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
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