Court throws out second libel case against investigative journalist Pelin Ünker

Facebook / David Casa

Charges against investigative Turkish journalist Pelin Ünker have been dropped in a second libel case over her work on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son-in-law. The presiding judge said that the case would be dismissed due to the statute of limitations specified in the Turkish Press Law.

The journalist is a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and worked on the investigation on the Paradise Papers for Turkish daily newspaper Cumhuriyet where she worked for ten years.

Ünker however still faces a thirteen month imprisonment sentence which she is currently appealing in a separate case concerning the relatives of former Turkish Prime Minister and Speaker of the National assembly Binali Yildirim.

READ: ‘Turkey should drop charges against Pelin Ünker’ – Casa

In a statement Head of Delegation and Partit Nazzjonalista MEP David Casa welcomed the move by the Turkish court and called for the remaining charges to be dropped.

READ: “Stories suppressed; journalists targeted” – Casa

READ: Turkey must reform press law; drop charges on journalists – Casa

Ünker was recently in Malta on an invitation by Casa where she met with civil society activists and journalists, as well as addressed the monthly protest vigil held every 16th of the month.

READ: Journalist Pelin Ünker invited to Malta

READ: Watch: Turkish journalist’s baby’s visa denied by Government – Casa

READ: Malta and Turkey: similar attitude to press freedom – Turkish journalist

READ: Watch: ‘Caruana Galizia was a patriot; held power to account’

Various MEPs have condemned the charges against the journalist describing them as a further blow to what is left of media freedom in Turkey. Turkey ranks 157th out of 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index of Reporters Without Borders, which says 29 journalists are currently in prison in Turkey.

READ: MEPs call for Commission to condemn Pelin Ünker’s prison sentence

READ: “I don’t shy away from speaking about human rights” – President

The Nationalist Head of Delegation Casa reiterated his support for journalists saying that by safeguarding media freedom they can be effective in combating injustice.

Earlier this week, 66 MEPs from various political groups have demanded that charges against Ünker be dropped. Those suing Ünker, have acknowledged the facts reported by the journalist as true.

The MEPs signed a declaration in which the charges against the journalist were described as a “further blow to media freedom and freedom of expression in Turkey”.