5 June 2002
Former editor of radical newspaper acquitted, to be released from prison
(WiPC/IFEX) - Asiye Güzel Zeybek, a former editor of a radical newspaper, is to be released on the evening of 5 June 2002, after spending five years and four months in prison. On 5 June, at Zeybek's trial hearing, which was attended by PEN representatives, the court announced that she was acquitted. PEN is awaiting full details of the court's decision.
Arrested in February 1997, Zeybek, now aged 31, was accused for her connections with the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLCP - now defunct). Zeybek was tried on charges under Article 168 of the Turkish Penal Code for membership in an "illegal organisation". During a trial hearing on 8 October 1997, Zeybek claimed to have been raped while under interrogation at the Istanbul Security Directorate Political Department. Eight police officers were brought to trial in November 1998. However, on 1 November 2000, the court decided not to proceed with the prosecution. Zeybek also got caught up in prison disturbances that occurred during the winter of 2000. At this time, police and prison officers stormed cells in an attempt to break-up demonstrations against the new F-type prison system.
PEN members world-wide took up Zeybek's case, sending protest letters to the Turkish authorities, attending her numerous trial hearings and raising publicity in their own countries. Over 100 other trials against writers and journalists are currently before Turkish courts. PEN will continue to press for an end to the repression of the free expression of those who speak out in Turkey.