CRNI, Cartooning for Peace y Cartoon Movement firman y difunden un manifiesto conjunto en el que piden la liberación del viñetista turco Musa Kart y de todos los periodistas detenidos en la redada en el diario Cumhuriyet, cuando se cumplen 31 días de su encarcelamiento en la prisión de Silivri (Estambul)
Las organizaciones firmantes recuerdan su compromiso con la libertad de expresión como derecho humano fundamental y hacen un llamamiento a los líderes de las naciones democráticas para que redoblen sus esfuerzos, disuadan al gobierno turco de que abandone la represión y exigen la liberación inmediata del dibujante Musa Kart.
On the 31st of October the homes of a number of staff from Cumhuriyet, Turkey’s oldest national daily newspaper, were raided and under emergency powers they were detained for questioning without legal representation for five days. On the 5th of November nine individuals were formally arrested and jailed pending trial for “committing crimes on behalf of the Fethullahist Terror Organisation and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)”.
This came amid a freezing of internet access and a wave of arrests across the country, all in an apparent effort to purge supporters of last summer’s attempted coup from Turkey’s mass media and opposition parties.
Organisations for the defence of freedom of expression and the liberty of journalists have already condemned the Cumhuriyet raid and arrests as brutal suppression of vital, critical voices in what purports to be a democratic nation.
We wish to draw special attention to Cumhuriyet cartoonist Musa Kart’s case in particular because this represents the third attempt by President Recep Erdo?an to silence him after suing for libel in 2005 and slander in 2014. On this occasion a punitive fine or jail sentence is not the worst possible outcome, as objectionable as it would be. If granted his stated ambition Erdo?an will reintroduce the death penalty specifically for those said to be involved in organising the coup. Clearly there is a real threat to Musa’s life should his trial proceed and he is found guilty of the charges given. We are witnessing an effort by the president to exact revenge on someone he has long considered an enemy.
It has been well reported that Erdogan has taken an almost industrial approach in responding to personal offence over criticisms in the mass media. Where, we ask, is the magnanimity shown earlier this year when the many hundreds of so-called ‘insult cases’ he had instructed his government to pursue were dropped? On what basis can the drawing of satirical cartoons be considered a crime, much less an act of terrorism?
We call upon the leadership of every democratic nation to redouble their efforts in dissuading the Turkish government from its present course and demand the immediate release of our friend and colleague Musa Kart.
NB – at the time of writing Musa Kart and colleagues are in Silivri prison, Istanbul; family members have visited and say his health is good and spirit unbowed.