The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) was disturbed to learn that five journalists were sentenced to prison in Turkey yesterday on charges of disseminating “terrorist propaganda”.
Journalists Ragıp Duran, Huseyin Aykol (Hüseyin Aykol), Mehmet Ali Çelebi, Ayse Duzkan (Ayşe Düzkan) and writer Huseyin Bektas (Hüseyin Bektaş) were sentenced to prison because of their involvement in a solidarity campaign following the closure of pro-Kurd daily Ozgur Gundem (Özgür Gündem). A court in Istanbul sentenced four of them to 18-month sentences, while the paper’s editor-in-chief Huseyin Akyol was sentenced to three years and nine months due to the court’s observation of his complete “lack of remorse” during trial.
All media workers were accused and sentenced under charges of participating in “terrorist propaganda” by supporting the outlawed Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK).
“We deeply condemn the decision of the court, and call on institutions in Turkey to cease their practice of continuously jailing media workers and free thinkers” Oliver Vujovic, SEEMO Secretary General, stated today. “
SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South, East and Central Europe and its press freedom work is supported by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) project, as part of a grant by the European Commission.