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Morning Star NUJ chapel statement on Seda Taskin

THE Morning Star NUJ chapel has consistently stood alongside our sisters and brothers in Turkey who face widespread pressure and oppression.

They risk their liberty and often their lives simply reporting the news. Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world with a third of the world’s total.

We are proud to have launched the Journalists for Democracy in Turkey and Kurdistan campaign and call on the NUJ to give the initiative its full support.

The Morning Star notes with concern the case of Seda Taskin, a journalist for the Mesopotamia News Agency who faces more than 7.5 years in prison on trumped-up terrorism charges.

The case against her was highly flawed and based on flimsy evidence. Her own work as a journalist was used against her, including interviews at the home of a jailed 78-year old woman and a visit to two children whose parents are in prison.

Absurdly prosecutors claim her own name Seda, which she has had since childhood, is a “terrorist code word.”

We are appalled to hear that she was subjected to psychological and physical torture while she was held in custody in December 2017.

Seda spent a year in prison before being released in February pending her appeal hearing on Wednesday. 

The Morning Star NUJ chapel stands in solidarity with Seda and urges trade unions, campaign organisations and others to back the #IStandWithSeda campaign.

“Seda is her name.

“Seda is not a code word.

“Seda is not a terrorist.

“Seda is a journalist.

“Journalism is not a crime.”

We call on the NUJ to make an immediate and urgent statement on Seda’s case and to condemn the Turkish government for its attacks on journalism in Turkey.

If Seda is jailed, the NUJ must launch an immediate and high-profile campaign for her release.

We also ask the NUJ to raise the issue in Parliament as a matter of urgency and demand that Prime Minister Theresa May stops normalising relations with Turkey — including the sale of arms — until it releases all journalists, politicians and others jailed on trumped-up terrorism charges.

If Seda is jailed, we call on trade unions, journalists and progressive organisations to mobilise for an emergency demonstration outside the Turkish Embassy in London to demand Seda’s release and to stop the oppression of journalists.

In the words of Seda, “No journalist is free until we are all free.”

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