Index on Censorship condemns a criminal indictment sent to a Turkish court against 16 civil society leaders including artist Meltem Arikan, actors Memet Ali Alabora and Pinar Ogun, and journalist Can Dündar.
“This farcical indictment shows how far Turkey’s government is willing to go to silence dissent and should show the world how much freedom of expression has degraded for all of the country’s citizens,” said Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of Index on Censorship.
The criminal court has 15 days to examine the indictment charging the 16 with attempting to overthrow the government for their part in the 2013 Gezi protests, the biggest anti-government demonstrations since President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Islamist government came to power in 2002. Almost six years after the protests during which tens of thousands people across Turkey took the streets, the 16 named in the indictment now faced a possible lifetime behind bars without the possibility of parole, according to a report in Ahval.
Arikan was nominated for a 2014 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Award in the arts category.
The other 12 individuals named in the indictment are: Osman Kavala, Mücella Yapıcı, Tayfun Kahraman, Hakan Altınay, Gökçe Yılmaz, Can Atalay, Çiğdem Mater Utku, Hanzade Hikmet Germiyanoğlu, İnanç Ekmekçi, Mine Özerden, Yiğit Aksakoğlu, Yiğit Ali Ekmekçi.