Turkey: Publisher Ragip Zarakolu released pending trial

Eminent Turkish free expression champion Ragip Zarakolu was freed from prison in Turkey pending trial along with 14 others yesterday. Zarakolu, director of the Belge Publishing House, which has published works on taboo subjects such as the Armenian genocide and minority rights in Turkey, was arrested last October as part of a crackdown on those accused of supporting the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK). He was indicted on 19 March under Turkish anti-terrorism laws for “aiding and abetting an illegal organisation,” a charge that could carry a 15-year sentence.

Turkey: Publisher and activist Ragıp Zarakolu detained

Turkish publisher Ragıp Zarakolu , recipient of the 2008 International Publishers Association (IPA) Freedom to Publish Prize, was arrested on 28 October in Istanbul. Viewed by many as Turkey’s most prominent free expression and minority rights activist, Zarakolu has been accused of being a member of an illegal organisation under the anti-terror legislation, a press release from IPA said today. University professor Büşra Ersanlı was also arrested and over 40 other individuals were taken into custody on the same day as part of a recent crackdown on the KCK (Union of Kurdistan Communities). Zarakolu’s son, Deniz, was also arrested last month after giving a lecture at the Political Science Academy of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy (BDP) opposition party.