Saturday, August 14, 2010
My friend Jake Hess: An American Journalist Arrested in Turkey
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: CHRIS CAESAR
ARREST OF WINNACUNNET GRADUATE, FORMER PORTSMOUTH
HERALD CONTRIBUTOR BY THE TURKISH GOVERNMENT CONDEMNED
BY PRESS FREEDOM ORGANIZATIONS; AT LEAST TWO DEMAND
HIS “IMMEDIATE RELEASE.”
ANKARA, Turkey – A freelance journalist with ties to the New Hampshire Seacoast and Boston has
been arrested in what appears to be a politically-motivated act of retaliation by the Turkish government,
watch-dog groups reported Friday.
Jake Hess, 25, formerly of Hampton, was detained by Turkish police after publishing a series of articles
critical of the Turkish government's treatment of Kurdish refugees. Officially, the government alleges
Hess has collaborated with the Kuridstan Worker's Party, or PKK, a militant group outlawed by the
Hess's attorney, Serkan Akbaş, said Hess "wrote several articles that angered the authorities,” adding
that the timing of the arrest “clearly shows that they got annoyed with his articles.” His latest piece
print/) for the Inter Press Service news agency - examining the displacement of civilians after Turkish
attacks - was published on August 4.
Akbas says Hess was detained without access to a lawyer for nearly 27 hours.
"Jake Hess is a legitimate journalist,” Mohamed Abdel Dayem, the Committee to Protect Journalists
Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, said. "...we call on Turkish authorities to
immediately release Hess, and not hinder his reporting."
“Detaining a journalist should be an exceptional measure resulting from a thorough investigation
establishing he has committed a serious crime,” the press freedom organization Reporters
Without Borders said in a separate statement. “We call for Jake Hess's immediate release.”
“He is a legitimate journalist of extremely high integrity,” London Independent columnist Johann
Hari added on his blog. “The idea that he would have any alliance with, or sympathy for, a terror group
is utterly absurd. Yet he is currently being held at the Diyarbakir Anti-Terrorism Branch.”
“Jake Hess is one of the most passionately consistent advocates for human rights I have ever
met, period,” long-time friend and fellow WHS grad Chris Caesar said. “I hope we can have
a good laugh about these charges when he comes home, because right now, I'm mad as hell.”
Hess was raised in Hampton, NH but attended college at Suffolk University in Boston, MA and
received a graduate degree from Brown University.
According to reports, the US Embassy has declined to comment on the situation.
Friends and family are urging others to contact the State Department at 888-407-4747 and the US
Embassy in Ankara 90-312-455-5555 to express concern about the case.