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HomeHeadlineJournalist Mehmet Kamış Remains in Custody: Denies All Charges in Court Appearance

Journalist Mehmet Kamış Remains in Custody: Denies All Charges in Court Appearance

ISTANBUL, February 13, 2024 – Journalist Mehmet Kamış, who was detained and subsequently arrested in İzmir on charges of ‘attempting a coup,’ firmly rejected all allegations during his first court appearance. Kamış, insisting on his innocence, stated that his career was dedicated solely to journalism and not any illicit activities. Despite his plea, the court ruled to extend his detention and postponed the hearing until May 2.

Kamış was taken into custody on November 22, 2023, with an outstanding arrest warrant. Following his interrogation, he was sent to the Istanbul 26th High Criminal Court on November 23, 2023, where he was detained due to concerns he might flee. He faces several serious charges, including “attempting to abolish or prevent the Turkish Grand National Assembly from performing its duties,” “attempting to abolish or prevent the Government of the Republic of Turkey from performing its duties,” “attempting to abolish the constitutional order,” and “membership of an organization.”

During the trial at the Istanbul 26th High Criminal Court, both Kamış and his legal representation made their case. Kamış defended himself by saying, “I am a journalist. Since childhood, my only aspiration was to be a journalist, which I achieved. I have never engaged in anything but journalism. I have not used ByLock. I reject all the accusations leveled against me.”

Kamış argued that the charges stem from his journalistic endeavors and requested his release.

His attorney argued that Kamış’s legitimate activities are being wrongfully criminalized, especially emphasizing his tenure at Zaman newspaper and his financial transactions with Bank Asya, both of which are being used against him in the case. The lawyer highlighted that Kamış’s interactions were solely with other journalists and were of a professional nature, not indicative of any organizational ties. The defense called for Kamış’s release.

The prosecutor, citing the gravity of the charges, the circumstances of his arrest, and the risk of him fleeing, advocated for the continuation of Kamış’s detention. After deliberation, the court decided to keep Kamış in custody and delayed the trial to May 2.

Kamış, the former Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the now-shuttered Zaman Newspaper, was initially detained in Çeşme on November 22 and arrested the following day on coup-related charges. The indictment against him lacks concrete evidence for the coup allegations, primarily focusing on his employment at Zaman Newspaper, possession of three 1-dollar bills, deposits into Bank Asya, and phone contacts with former Zaman employees.

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