Akın, the former responsible editor of Yeni Yaşam daily, was on trial over a March 2019 report about prison conditions in Hatay H Type Prison

CANSU PİŞKİN, İSTANBUL

Osman Akın, the former responsible managing editor of Yeni Yaşam daily, was sentenced to 5 months in prison on 9 January 2020, at the end of the second hearing of his trial over an article titled “Afrinli tutuklulara zulüm” (Oppression targeting prisoners from Afrin).

Akın was accused of “publicly degrading the military or security forces of the state” as per Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK). The case was launched upon a complaint filed by the administration of Hatay H Type Prison against the news report, published on 1 March 2019.

P24 monitored the hearing, overseen by Istanbul’s 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance. Akın was represented by his lawyer Özcan Kılıç. Erol Önderoğlu, The Turkey representative of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), was also among those monitoring the hearing.

Addressing the court, Kılıç explained how the prison had directly filed a criminal complaint, before asking the paper to run a correction or retract the story first and later without investigating the authenticity of the story, the Prosecutor’s Office had launched the case on TCK 301. “An act of journalism, which does not constitute a criminal offence, is in question,” Kılıç said. He requested the court to acquit his client.

Announcing its verdict after a five-minute recess, the court sentenced Osman Akın to a minimum term of 5 months in prison as charged. The sentence was deferred and will not be executed unless Akın intentionally commits another crime within the next five years.

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