Cartoonist Dogan Güzel was among the journalists arrested in the government raid on the Kurdish newspaper Özgür Gündem in Istanbul on Tuesday. Photos show the cartoonist in a torn shirt in police custody. In 1999, Dogan Güzel was the first recipient of CRNI’s Courage in Political Cartooning award. At that time, he had just spent a year in jail for “drawing a cartoon that called the state ‘weak,’ and for publishing his cartoons in the Kurdish language.” Cartoonists Rights joins Reporters Without Borders in condemning the closure of the newspaper and calls for the release of the journalists.
UPDATE: Cartoonist Dogan Güzel was among the 22 journalists arrested at offices of the Istanbul-based newspaper Özgür Gündem who have been released from custody. In an interview following his release, Güzel told journalist Manuel Martorell of cuartopoder that anti-terrorist police arrived Tuesday intent on confiscating the newspaper’s computers and became violent when they realized they were being filmed. The journalists were then beaten and shoved down stairs. The beating, Güzel said, continued when he was in a police vehicle. “They insulted us shouting: ‘Armenians, Jews, sons of Lenin; you are going to find out about the strength of the Turkish state,'” Güzel recounted. The Özgür Gündem journalists, though released, face charges of “resistance, insult and assault to authority.” Upon release a spokesperson for the journalists said: “We will continue our work . . . We will fight for a free press.”