Pişkin gets 10 months in prison for “marking the identity of a state official assigned in the fight against terrorism as a target” over her news report

Journalist Cansu Pişkin has been sentenced to 10 months in prison on the charge of “marking the identity of a state official assigned in the fight against terrorism as a target” for her news report titled “Boğaziçililere özel savcı” (Custom prosecutor for Boğaziçi students) published in 2018 in Evrensel newspaper. The sentence was deferred.

In the third hearing of her trial held on 7 May 2019, Cansu Pişkin and her lawyers Levent Pişkin, Devrim Avcı and Mustafa Söğütlü were in attendance at the 36th High Criminal Court of Istanbul.

In addition to P24 the hearing was monitored by representatives from Reporters Without Borders (RSF), International Press Institute (IPI), Article 19 and a number of academics and journalists.

Pişkin addressed the court and reiterated her previous defense statement saying that she did not write the news story for which she is accused with the intent to commit a crime but to inform the public.

Pişkin’s lawyer Levent Pişkin reminded the court that the elements of the offense were not present and the presence of any sort of ulterior intent was out of question. Lawyer Pişkin said that in a case where the defendant should have been immediately acquitted, the prosecution has requested a conviction. While several news stories were published in several newspapers mentioning the name of prosecutor Ercan Güçlü, it goes against the principles of law to render a punishment in this case.

Mustafa Söğütlü, another lawyer representing Cansu Pişkin, also addressed the court and underlined the fact that according to Supreme Court of Appeals’ case law, news stories written to inform the public cannot be considered as a crime. He said the intent to identify the individual as a target cannot be found in Pişkin’s new story. Söğütlü said the case must be dismissed and requested Pişkin’s acquittal.

Once Pişkin’s lawyers completed their defense statements, the court rendered its verdict, finding Pişkin guilty of “marking the identity of a state official assigned in the fight against terrorism as a target.” The court sentenced her to 10 months in prison and deferred the sentence.

A group of students from Istanbul’s Boğaziçi University were imprisoned in late March 2018 for staging an anti-war protest. In her news story published on 5 April 2018, Pişkin reported that the prosecutor assigned to the investigation concerning the Boğaziçi students on 3 April, the day on which the students were referred to court, had claimed in a previous indictment that the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) was a political party “operating under the guidance of a terrorist group.”

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