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Writers' and publishers' groups call for abolition of restrictive anti-terror laws on Day of the Imprisoned Writer

(BIANET/IFEX) – 16 November 2011 – In a joint statement issued on 15 November, the Day of the Imprisoned Writer, the Writers Union of Turkey (TYS), the PEN Turkey Centre and the Publishers Association of Turkey demanded the abolishment of Articles 6 and 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Law (TMK) on "Disclosure and Publication" and "Terrorist Organizations", respectively.

The groups also protested against the arrest of publisher and writer Rağip Zarakolu and academic Prof. Busra Ersanli as two of more than 40 people who are currently being detained in the context of the so-called KCK operations targeting the Union of Kurdistan Communities that also include the outlawed PKK.

The groups, which held a press conference at the Istanbul Medical Chamber to issue the statement, emphasized that about 70 journalists and writers are currently imprisoned in Turkey and thousands more are facing trial.

The President of the Publishers Association of Turkey, Metin Celal, reminded conference attendees that most of the detained journalists and writers were being prosecuted under amendments of Articles 6 and 7 of the TMK made in 2006. Celal urged for the immediate abolishment of both articles.

A total of 71 journalists are behind bars on the Day of the Imprisoned Writer. They have been arrested on allegations of "membership in an (illegal) organization", "propaganda for an illegal organization", "influencing a fair trial" and "praising a crime or criminal". The list of those convicted or awaiting trial - often in pre-trial detention - continues to grow.

Most of the journalists are being prosecuted under the Anti-Terrorism Law, which restricts free and independent journalism and the people's right to information.

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