Mehmet Emin Yıldırım

KocaeliAzadiya Welatnewspapereditor-in-chiefpro-KurdishDecember 21 2011A court in Diyarbakır ordered that Yıldırım, editor-in-chief of the Kurdish-language daily Azadiya Welat, be held as part of an investigation into the Union of Communities in Kurdistan, or KCK, of which the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) is part. Authorities allege that the KCK directs all of the main pro-Kurdish media and news agencies in Turkey. Yıldırım was being held in Kandıra F Type Prison in Kocaeli on charges of following the directives of the KCK press committee. As evidence, authorities cited conversations in which Yıldırım relayed information to the pro-PKK satellite station Roj TV. The indictment also faulted Yıldırım’s news coverage for being critical of police operations against the KCK, for insulting the government, and for provoking Kurds to oppose the state. Authorities claimed notes and email traffic showed that he executed orders from the KCK. For example, a list of toiletries and other items—shaving blades, a tube of toothpaste, a toothbrush, a digital radio, and batteries—was cited as evidence that Yıldırım was providing supplies to the PKK. Authorities would not allow Yıldırım to give a statement in his native Kurdish, which defense lawyer Özcan Kılıç said was a violation of a defendant’s rights but one common in political cases. “They bring in a translator for cases such as narcotics trafficking, but they do not for these cases,” he said. Two other chief editors of Azadiya Welat—Tayip Temel and Ozan Kılınç—were imprisoned on similar charges when CPJ conducted its August 1, 2012, survey.following the directives of the KCK press committeehelping lead the KCK press committee