Prosecutor demands two consecutive life sentences for 13 journalists including Atilla Taş and Murat Aksoy

 

An indictment accusing 13 journalists including Meydan columnist Atilla Taş, former Yeni Şafak writer Murat Aksoy and TürkSolu magazine editor Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu was submitted to a court on June 6.

The indicted are accused of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order” and “attempting to overthrow the government of the Republic of Turkey.” The prosecutor demands two life sentences for each suspect without the possibility of parole.

The 314-page document, drafted by Istanbul Chief Prosecutor İrfan Fidan lists journalists Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, Yakup Çetin, Bünyamin Köseli, Cihan Acar, Abdullah Kılıç, Oğuz Usluer, Atilla Taş, Hüseyin Aydın, Murat Aksoy, Mustafa Erkan, Seyit Kılıç, Yetkin Yıldız and Ali Akkuş as suspects.

The 13 journalists were all released by a court ruling on March 31 in a trial where they stood accused of “membership of a terrorist organization,” but then detained again on charges of “attempting a coup.” All but one — Ali Akkuş — were rearrested on the new charges.

The Chief Prosecutor’s Office has submitted the indictment to the 25th High Criminal Court, requesting that it be merged with the ongoing trial where the journalists were accused of “membership of a terrorist” organization.

Evrensel executives convicted for “insult” crime

 On June 6, the Responsible Managing Editor for the independent daily Evrensel, Çağrı Sarı and the former copyrights owner of the newspaper, Arif Koşar, were convicted and given a five-month prison term under Article 301 of the Turkish Criminal Code which criminalizes “Denigrating the Turkish Nation, the State of the Republic of Turkey, the Agencies and Institutions of the State.”

Sarı and Koşar were tried by the Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance regarding a story published by Evrensel.

The court found that the two editors had committed the crime stipulated under Article 301 and handed down a five-month prison sentence to each journalist.

DİHA journalists released from custody

On June 6, head of the executive board of the shuttered Dicle News Agency (DİHA) Zekeriya Güzüpek and the Kurdish-language editions editor Mehmet Ali Ertaş were released from police custody where they had been kept since May 31.

The two journalists were taken into custody under suspicion of “participating in a protest action on behalf of the terrorist organization.” They were kept at a detention center for seven days and released after testifying to a prosecutor.

BirGün journalists released from prison

BirGün newspaper’s copyrights owner İbrahim Aydın and former Responsible Managing Editor Berkant Gültekin were released from prison after spending six days, serving part of a 21-month conviction regarding a news story published in the newspaper.

The two were released on 3 June under a law, which allows convicts who have received a prison term of less than 24-months to be released under judicial probation.

The number of journalists in prison has gone down to 167 following the release of the two BirGün journalists. The full list can be viewed here.

Aydınlık editor-in-chief released after one day of imprisonment

On June 4, İlker Yücel, the editor-in-chief of the Aydınlık newspaper, was released from prison following his arrested on June 3.

Yücel was first taken into police custody and later arrested under court order and placed in pretrial detention for the failure of his newspaper to pay a TL 100,000 fine issued for not publishing a correction regarding a news report on Energy Minister Berat Albayrak.

Court upholds conviction of journalist Doğan

On June 2, a court ruled to uphold a two-year and nine-month prison term handed down to editor of the shuttered Jinha news agency Zehra Doğan.

Doğan was detained in July 2016 on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization” and “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” on the basis of statements from secret witnesses. She was released pending trial after 4.5 months in prison.

On March 2, a court sentenced Doğan to a prison term of two years nine months and 22 days. 

Cihan Muğla Bureau Chief held by police

On June 1, police in Muğla province held eight people, including the former regional bureau chief of the shuttered Cihan news agency on suspicion of using the chat software ByLock, allegedly used by the members of the group which plotted the July 15 coup attempt.

The former Cihan journalist was identified only with his initials as K.A. in news reports.

 

For a full list of journalists or press workers in Turkish prisons serving a conviction or awaiting trial under arrest click here.

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