A Turkish court ruled on Thursday for a continuation of the pretrial detention of Mehmet Gündem, a veteran Turkish journalist who is accused of taking part in or supporting a coup attempt in Turkey in 2016.

Gündem appeared before the İstanbul 35th High Criminal Court for his third hearing on Thursday. The court adjourned proceedings until May 8, 2019 at the end of the hearing.

According to information shared by @JailedJournos, which follows the trials of jailed journalists in Turkey, Gündem defended himself before the judges against charges of his alleged membership in the Gülen movement and his alleged use of the ByLock mobile phone messaging app.

Reiterating that he has never used ByLock, Gündem said, “I repeat the statements I made in my previous defense on this issue.”

Gündem said during his first hearing on Aug. 14, 2018 that the phone number to which it was claimed he downloaded ByLock does not belong to him. He also stated that he has used the same mobile phone number since 1995.

Turkish authorities believe ByLock is a communication tool among alleged followers of the Gülen movement. Tens of thousands of people, including civil servants, police officers, soldiers, businessmen, and even housewives, have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the Turkish government also closed down some 200 media outlets, including Kurdish news agencies and newspapers, after a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016.

 

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