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Canadian journalists released after 11-hour detention in Turkey

Veteran Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) foreign correspondents Saša Petricic and Derek Stoffel were released from custody on June 12, 2013, 11 hours after being arrested by Turkish police.

The pair were detained in Istanbul on June 12, 2013, making them among the latest journalists to fall victim to the Turkish police force's brutal crackdown on media personalities attempting to cover the ongoing protests in the nation's capital. The demonstrations began as peaceful sit-ins against the city's plans to build a shopping mall over Gezi Park, the last green space in Istanbul's commercial district. However, when Turkish security forces responded to park demonstrators with unnecessary force, the movement quickly evolved into an anti-government protest. According to Petricic's Twitter feed, the pair were arrested for taking pictures of city officials removing protestor barricades, with formal charges including impeding roadwork and resisting arrest.

Turkey has a history of being intolerant of free expression, especially when it comes to the media. As such, it is unsurprising that journalists attempting to cover these demonstrations have run into countless obstacles. As CJFE explains in our alert regarding the situation, journalists in Istanbul have been subject to multiple instances of police brutality, and, evidently, detention.

Throughout their detention, Petricic and Stoffel used Twitter and Facebook to communicate, giving updates on their well-being and progress. On Wednesday afternoon, Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird expressed concern over the situation, while His Excellency Tuncay Babali, Ambassador of Turkey to Canada, indicated via Twitter that the pair were expected to be released soon.

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