US Journalist Arrested as Turkey Continues to Harass Reporters

This statement was originally published on www.jewishpress.com on 9th/August/2016.

A U.S. journalist has been detained, allegedly for trying to enter Turkey illegally from Syria, according to a report posted on the Hurriyet Daily News website.

The report by the official Anadolu News Agency quoted southern Hatay province governor Ercan Topaca on August 7, and said journalist Snell Lindsteyler was arrested in the Altinozu district, near the Syrian border.

“A U.S. journalist was captured while she was trying to cross the border illegally; she was taken to court and remanded. The trial phase is ongoing. For now, we do not know if she is a spy or not,” Topaca said.

Although Topaca said the journalist has a residence permit to live in Turkey, he claimed she was taken into custody because she had crossed into Syria illegally from Turkey and then tried to re-enter the country, also illegally. He also claimed that U.S. helicopters were seen flying over the border, allegedly to pick up the journalist before she was detained.

Dozens of journalists have been detained since last month’s failed coup; others have had their passports seized, effectively holding them hostage in Turkey.

National Turkish Police officials reportedly told a member of the Turkish Parliament last week that the passports of a number of journalists were cancelled as a “preventive measure” following the attempted coup.

The issue came up when the passport of a Turkish-Armenian journalist was seized upon his arrival in Turkey on August 6, as was the passport of Armenian journalist Hayko Bagdat, when he arrived in Turkey the same evening.

On Augusst 8, “security concerns” also led to unexplained closures at the entrances and exits at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, according to a brief report on Turkey’s Daily Sabah news website.

No further details were provided, and the report has since disappeared from the site.

HRNJ-UG Admin

Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) is a network of human rights journalists in Uganda working towards enhancing the promotion, protection and respect of human rights through defending and building the capacities of journalists, to effectively exercise their constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms for collective campaigning through the media.

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