Turkish court releases journalist detained under ‘disinformation’ law
A Turkish court ordered the release of a journalist held on remand under the country’s new disinformation law after his lawyer objected to his detention, he said.
Sinan Aygul became the first person to be jailed pending trial under the law, approved by parliament two months ago, that the government says is aimed at protecting the public, but which critics say could be abused to stifle dissent.
Aygul, a journalist in the Kurdish-majority Bitlis province, wrote on Twitter last week that a 14-year-old girl had allegedly been sexually abused, including by police and soldiers.
He retracted the posts and apologized for writing them without confirming the story with authorities but was later arrested.
Aygul said in a video posted to Twitter late on Friday that he was released after his lawyer filed an objection to the detention order.
“I am free again after 10 days of captivity,” he said in the video. “I hope neither I nor any of my journalist colleagues has to experience such a situation.”
The law carries a jail sentence of up to three years for anyone who spreads false or misleading information.
It has raised concerns of a further crackdown on media after a Reuters investigation showed how pressure from authorities and self-censorship has transformed mainstream Turkish media.