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Calls to free Italian writer Gabriele Del Grande held in Turkey

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By Alasdair Sandford
Calls to free Italian writer Gabriele Del Grande held in Turkey

A demonstration has been held in Rome for the release of an Italian journalist and human rights activist arrested in detained in Turkey.

Gabriele Del Grande went to the country earlier this month to find material for a book on Syrian refugees in the southeast province of Hatay.

Protesters near the Quirinale palace, the official residence of the Italian president, held banners reading “no gag” and “freedom for Gabriele and for all journalists illegally detained in Turkey”.

The 34-year-old has gone on hunger strike after reportedly being held in isolation. No charges have been brought against him.

The Italian consul and Del Grande’s lawyer saw him at the detention centre at Mugla on Friday, but no assurance has been given as to his release.

Many journalists are among thousands of people detained or sacked from their jobs in the crackdown since last summer’s failed coup.

Human Rights Watch estimates that about 150 Turkish journalists and media workers are in jail, most facing politically motivated charges under terrorism laws.