2012 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee publisher Ragıp Zarakolu spent close to 6 months in a F-type high security prison between 1 Nov. 2011 and 10 April 2012. The prosecutor has demanded between 7.5 and 15 years in prison for Ragıp. This IPA Freedom to Publish Committee blog aims at shedding light on his case and urges the Turkish authorities to drop all charges against him.
We are fellow colleagues of publisher and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Ragıp Zarakolu on the Freedom to Publish Committee of the International Publishers Association (IPA). Dozens of writers, journalists, publishers and intellectuals are currently held in prison in Turkey. We believe that Ragıp in particular – who is charged with ‘aiding and abetting an illegal organization’ and risks between 7.5 and 15 years in prison – was arrested because of his publishing activities and books he has published. He was released pending trial on 10 April 2012 after spending more than 160 days in a high security prison. His first court hearing took place in Silivri on 2-13 July 2012.
We are seriously concerned about the effects that the harsh, long and unjust detention conditions he was in could have on Ragıp’s health.
Ragıp, his son Deniz, Professor Ersanlı, and many others, demonstrate the increasing use of anti-terror legislation in Turkey to stifle freedom of expression. They are democrats and should not be treated as terrorists. It is essential not to confuse the efforts of those who, like Ragıp Zarakolu, have worked to bring down barriers of censorship in Turkey with those who press political agendas through violence. While Professor Ersanlı was released on 13 July, Deniz Zarakolu, a publisher and PhD student, is still being detained. He was arrested on 7 October 2011. IPA calls for his release from prison.
Ragıp Zarakolu was awarded the NOVIB/PEN Free Expression Award in 2003 and the 2008 International Publishers Association (IPA) Freedom to Publish Prize. He has now been nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. As the Chair of the IPA Freedom to Publish Committee Bjorn Smith-Simonsen said, “Ragıp does not belong to prison, he deserves the Nobel Peace Prize”.
This IPA Freedom to Publish Committee blog primarily aims at informing the public about the case of publisher Ragıp Zarakolu, which, with others, symbolizes the fall of Turkey in international freedom of expression rankings, and urges the Turkish authorities to drop all charges against this Nobel Peace Prize nominee.