BREAKING NEWS: Zarakolu Released from Prison Pending Trial

ISTANBUL, Turkey—Publisher Ragip Zarakolu was released from prison today pending trial along with 14 other suspects. He was taken into custody on Oct. 28, 2011, during a large-scale manhunt in Istanbul against Kurdish and human rights activists.

Zarakolu during his arrest

An indictment on an alleged umbrella political organization (KCK) that includes the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was accepted by an Istanbul court last week. The prosecutor is seeking up to 15 years for Zarakolu on charges of aiding a terrorist group, reported Today’s Zaman.

Zarakolu heads the Belge publishing house, which has published numerous books on the oppression of the national minorities in Turkey and the Armenian Genocide. Zarakolu had said after his arrest that during the raid to his house the police confiscated only few books as “evidence of crime” and found nothing about his so-called relations with any organization.

The confiscated books are volume two of Vatansiz Gazeteci (Stateless Journalist) by Dogan Ozguden, chief editor of Info-Turk; Habiba by Ender Ondes; Peace Process by Yuksel Genc; and manuscripts of three books about the Armenian Genocide and Armenian history.

On Nov. 2, 2011, Human Rights Watch issued a statement noting that the decision to imprison Zarakolu and others pending their trial on terrorism charges exposed the huge deficiencies of Turkey’s criminal justice system. “The arrests of Ragip Zarakolu and Busra Ersanli represent a new low in the misuse of terrorism laws to crush freedom of expression and association in Turkey,” said Emma Sinclair-Webb, a Turkey researcher at Human Rights Watch.

5 Comments on BREAKING NEWS: Zarakolu Released from Prison Pending Trial

  1. I’m so relieved that Zarakolu has been released. He’s been through so much pain, including multiple arrests, the burning down of his publishing house, and many other injustices. I pray he has the strength to continue revealing Turkey’s hidden history, and I hope justice-loving Turks, Kurds, Armenians and the world community will support his efforts and protect him from harm.

  2. Hurrah! The best of good wishes to him! Let us never forget him no matter what–and the others who are still locked up for reminding the upper circles of Turkey too much of Hrant Dink.

  3. This man’s courage, resolution and perseverance is admirable. Let’s wish him all strength and good health that he needs.

  4. I am absolutely thrilled to learn of this news.. God protect Zarakolu and his family.

    however.. i am not 100% convinced that the release was solely on common sense and pure error… I don’t completely trust the Turkish govt intentions of these releases.. I just hope this was not another stunt to dangle a carrot in front of the world to say “see, see???… We are democratic and we are moving toward the right direction”… but really it is just a disguise and another of them fake promises and advancements to shut anyone who dare to say Turkey is as backward as their ancestors.. after all, April 24th is appraoching…..I don’t know..

  5. Zarakolou’s release from his (latest) arrest in November last year is certainly welcome news. However his arrest and continuous prosecution and persecution, like thise of so many thousands of others fighting for democracy and human rights in Turkey especially for the Kurds and minorities in Turkey, is the best proof that the Turkish state remains a dangerous and unreformable terrorist state.

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