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NUJ condemns Turkish authorities over detention of British journalist

Steve Sweeney  -  © morning star

1 April 2019

The NUJ has put out a statement in support of the Morning Star’s international editor who was arrested and deported from Turkey when he entered the country to cover the local elections.

Steve Sweeney has been since trolled on social media by supporters of the Turkish government who threatened to chop off his head. In a report in the Morning Star, Steve recounted how he was picked up by police shortly after landing at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gockcen airport.

Steve said: “I was at no stage informed as to the reasons for my detention, nor was I told what was happening. I was unable to communicate with anybody to let them know what was happening and was not allowed to contact the British consulate, despite it being my legal right.”

He was escorted onto a plane and sent back to London arriving in the early hours of Friday 29 March. His passport and phone were handed back to him by counter-terror police at Stansted airport. He said: “The paperwork said I was stopped from entering Turkey as I was deemed a national security threat — despite no evidence being offered as to the reasons for this decision.”

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

“Journalists should be able to carry out their work in Turkey without fear of intimidation and persecution. The union is supporting Turkish journalists who have been incarcerated by the brutal regime in Turkey which has abused press freedom at all levels. Steve Sweeney should have the right to carry out his job as a journalist and not be denounced in a trumped-up accusation of being a security threat. That is why we are supporting the adoption of the IFJ’s draft UN Convention on protection of journalists to protect the rights and safety of the press.”

The NUJ is supporting Turkish journalists detained by the authorities, including Ayşe Duzkan, a board member of DISK Basin Is, an affiliate of International Federation of Journalists. She and her colleagues were given sentences of between 18 months and more than three years. Turkey is one of the worst jailers of media workers with around 70 behind bars.

My Turkish detention ordeal has made me even more determined to keep speaking out

Tags: , turkey, morning star, journalists detained, steve sweeney, media freedom, press freedom