Alliance for Historical Dialogue and Accountability (AHDA) alumnus and co-director of the Truth Memory Justice Center (Hafiza Merkezi) in Istanbul, Turkey, Murat Çelikkan, has been jailed for his involvement in a protest against the closure of the Özgür Gündem daily newspaper.
Özgür Gündem was one of 15 media outlets that had to shut their doors after a government decree was issued on October 29, 2016. Its closure marked the silencing of the last media enterprise that had an active readership among Turkey’s minority Kurdish community.
A journalist by training and a well-known human rights activist, Çelikkan has been a tireless champion of minority rights in Turkey for decades. His imprisonment points to the ruthless attack on press freedom that continues unabated in Turkey, just as it speaks to increasing attacks on Turkey's minority communities. Moreover, that Çelikkan was charged with spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization because of his protest in support of press freedom, and that these charges were upheld due to a finding that he did not display adequate remorse at his trial, speaks to the terribly worrisome assault currently underway against human rights advocates in the country.
The Truth Memory Justice Center has launched a webpage in support of Çelikkan and chronicling the events that led to his imprisonment.