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Prominent publisher, academic taken into police custody

(BIANET/IFEX) - 29 October 2011 - Professor Busra Ersanli and publisher and human rights activist Ragip Zarakolu were taken into custody on October 28, 2011 when police raided various pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) offices in Istanbul, including the BDP-Istanbul Politics Academy and several other BDP branches, as part of its Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) operation.

Forty-one other people were also taken into custody on Friday during the operation.

Professor Ersanli is a constitutional law expert and a member of the BDP Assembly. She is an academic at the Faculty of Political Science and International Relations of Istanbul's Marmara University and a member of the BDP Constitutional Commission.

Ragip Zarakolu is a well-known human rights activist and director of Belge Publishing House in Turkey. He is also chair of the Turkish Publishers Association's Freedom to Publish Committee. His son, Deniz Zarakolu, editor of the Belge Publishing House, was arrested on October 4.

According to press reports, the number of detainees will likely increase as the operation is still under way.

BDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtas strongly criticized the new wave of detentions on Friday.

"We will not be able to talk about a healthy Constitution-making process if we go on like this. We will have no party member who can join efforts for [drafting] a new Constitution".

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    Although no charges have been formally declared, it is believed that Deniz Zarakolu is being held as the result of his peaceful exercise of the right to free expression.

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