Jail sentences, acquittal and appeal in flurry of media trials

first_img Organisation Receive email alerts TurkeyEurope – Central Asia News News Follow the news on Turkey Turkey’s never-ending judicial persecution of former newspaper editor Help by sharing this information Human rights groups warns European leaders before Turkey summit RSF_en April 28, 2021 Find out morecenter_img News June 7, 2010 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Jail sentences, acquittal and appeal in flurry of media trials April 2, 2021 Find out more TurkeyEurope – Central Asia to go further Journalists threatened with imprisonment under Turkey’s terrorism law News Four trials of journalists took place in Istanbul on 4 June, some of the ending with the defendants receiving long jail sentences for just doing their job. Reporters Without Borders deplores the fact that the Turkish authorities continue to bring arbitrary prosecutions against journalists on fanciful charges that lack any grounds.Irfan Aktan, the publisher of the political fortnightly Express, and Merve Erol, its editor, were found guilty of propaganda on behalf of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is regarded by the authorities as a terrorist organisation. As has happened in many other media cases, they were convicted under article 7-2 of the Anti-Terrorism Law for a story about PKK strategy.The court changed Aktan’s sentence twice. First he was sentenced to a year in prison. Then the sentence was increased to 18 months, because the alleged propaganda was carried out via the news media. Finally it was reduced to 15 months because of his “good behaviour” during the trial. Erol was sentenced to a fine of 16,000 Turkish lira (8,000 euros). But if the sentence is confirmed, he will still have to serve a minimum jail term of 10 months. Their lawyers said they would appeal.In a separate trial, Filiz Koçali, the former publisher of the pro-Kurd daily Günlük, Ramazan Pekgöz, its editor, and Ziya Ciçekçi, its owner, were all sentenced to seven and a half years in prison under the same article of the Anti-Terrorism Law for reports published on 8 and 9 August 2009.Reporters Without Borders condemns these verdicts and regrets that Turkey is using the fight against terrorism as a pretext for attacking press freedom.The one positive development on 4 June was investigative journalist Nedim Sener’s acquittal on a charge of using confidential documents for his book about newspaper editor Hrant Dink’s murder, “The Dink Murder and the Intelligence Lies.” The court accepted the defence argument that the information was all to be found in the released details of the Dink murder investigation. Reporters Without Borders hopes the acquittal will be upheld if the prosecution and plaintiffs appeal.The other journalist being tried on 4 June was Mehmet Baransu, a reporter for the daily Taraf, who is accused of revealing the details of “confidential” documents about “national security matters” in two stories published on 13 April 2009. The prosecutor requested a 10-year jail sentence under article 329-1 of the criminal code. The next hearing is scheduled for 6 October.Reporters Without Borders finally also condemns the fact that reporter Ismail Saymaz of the daily Radikal is to be prosecuted for the seventh time in connection with his coverage of the investigation into the alleged “Ergenekon” conspiracy. In the latest prosecution, he is accused of “violating the confidentiality of a judicial investigation” for revealing the details of a statement made by one of the defendants in police custody. In the seven prosecutions, he is facing a total possible sentence of 58 and a half years in prison.Turkey is a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights, article 10 of which enshrines the right to freedom of opinion and expression. Reporters Without Borders urges the Turkish authorities to take the necessary measures to ensure that the convention is respected and that their citizens can enjoy a free and pluralist press offering a wide range of views. April 2, 2021 Find out morelast_img