Today's Zaman Editor-in-Chief Bülent Keneş, who was put in İstanbul's Metris Prison after he was arrested by a court on Saturday for his tweets allegedly insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, was transferred alongside terror suspects to the city's Silivri Prison on Monday afternoon.
Speaking with Today's Zaman on Tuesday, Keneş's lawyer Hasan Günaydın said Keneş was transferred to Silivri Prison at 3:30 p.m. on Monday. Günaydın said his client had told him that he was taken to the prison in the same vehicle as suspects from the terrorist Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C).
Although Keneş is accused of insulting the president through his tweets on Twitter, Günaydın said that Keneş's transfer to Silivri represents psychological torture as it is known that only those who are being tried on terror charges are transferred to Silivri.
Lawyer Günaydın challenged the decision to arrest his client on Monday, submitting a 14-page petition to the İstanbul 7th Penal Court of Peace.
The petition stated that the imprisonment of Keneş for tweets allegedly insulting Erdoğan is unwarranted and a violation of the Constitution, which protects freedom of the press and expression. Günaydın said his client had never mentioned Erdoğan by name in his Twitter messages, adding that even if they were interpreted as addressed to Erdoğan, they should fall into the category of critical speech, which is protected by the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which is binding on Turkey.
Underlining that the court should respond to their petition within three days, Günaydın said they will submit another petition to the prosecutor's office asking it to immediately submit the indictment against his client to court so his trial may begin soon. “We expect that his trial will start soon as he was only accused of allegedly insulting the president, unlike other suspects in Silivri Prison who are accused of being terrorists, and some of them have waited for a prosecutor's indictment for more than a year,” he said.
Günaydın said he was able to give some basic items to Keneş, such as clean clothes, a toothbrush, hand soap and shampoo during his transfer to Silivri Prison as they were not let into Metris Prison. He also said that Keneş is currently confined by himself to a room at Silivri Prison.
Keneş was arrested by the İstanbul 7th Penal Court of Peace on Saturday after the İstanbul 4th Penal Court of Peace issued the detention warrant at the request of prosecutor Umut Tepe on Friday. Tepe objected to an earlier ruling by the 4th Penal Court of Peace on Thursday that rejected his request to arrest Keneş. The court ruling on Thursday also decided to place Keneş under judicial supervision and banned him from traveling abroad.