My journalist mother Fusun Erdogan, ex-coordinator of Ozgur Radio, was arrested in 2006 based on a police plot/conspiracy. Her fundamental rights to defend herself were taken away for the first two years of her arrest because the case file was classified and no information was shared with her or with her lawyers. She did not know for two years why she was arrested for. Fusun was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2011. However, she had to wait for a year to get a proper treatment because of bureaucratic delays.As if these were not enough, she was kept in prison for 7 years through out the trial period. At the end, last November, she was sentenced to life without any concrete evidence against her. The life sentence given to Fusun is not only given to her but also to her family and loved ones.
This trial is full of irregularities and misconducts put on display by the police and prosecution. There is no sufficient evidence against Fusun but still the court went ahead and sentenced her based on “personal conviction and opinion” of the judges.
She was arrested one other time in 1996 and she was tortured. Because of this inhuman treatment she took her case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). In 2009, ECHR found the Republic of Turkey guilty. This was not the only time she successfully brought her struggle to the ECHR. Two other times ECHR found the Republic of Turkey guilty: once for the closure of Ozgur Radio for the Press Freedom and more recently in 2013 for her long imprisonment while being tried.
Unfortunately, Turkey is the leader in the world with the highest number of imprisoned journalists. More than 60 journalists are in prisons today. Their main crime is doing their jobs as journalists. However, the Turkish government continues to mislead the world by saying that they are in prisons because of their illegal activities. If these government accusations were true, Fusun would have not been honored with the 2013 Press Freedom Award by the Turkish Journalist Association in July.
As her family, we know the truth and all the circumstances surrounding her case. We believe in a true democratic society, not only our Fusun but all the other journalists would have been free. We demand that this injustice against Fusun be stopped and she be freed immediately. As her family we will not stop raising our voice against this injustice and continue knocking on every door until she is freed.
Journalists are not terrorists! Freedom for Fusun!