2 more Kurdish journalists sentenced to prison on terrorist propaganda charges

Journalists Mehmet Güleş and İsmail Çoban have been handed down prison sentences by Turkish courts on conviction of disseminating terrorist propaganda, according to media reports.

Journalist İsmail Çoban, former managing editor of the Kurdish language Azadiya Welat newspaper, which is among the dozens of media outlets that were closed down by the government in the aftermath of a failed coup in 2016, was handed down an 18-month prison sentence by the Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court, Turkish Minute reported, citing the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA).

The court has not suspended the sentence, according to media reports.

Çoban was charged due to a series of news reports and articles published in Azadiya Welat in September and October 2014 that allegedly disseminated propaganda the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community.

The journalist was previously convicted in another trial on terrorism charges and is currently serving a sentence in the southern province of Kahramanmaraş.

In a separate case, Mehmet Güleş, a reporter for the pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya News Agency, was sentenced on Tuesday to 21 months and 25 days in prison by the Elazığ 2nd High Criminal Court. But, the court has suspended the sentence.

Kurdish journalists in Turkey frequently face legal harassment, stand trial and are given jail sentences for covering issues related to Kurds and the PKK.

Turkey, which is known as one of the top jailers of journalists in the world, was ranked 149th among 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 2022 World Press Freedom Index.

Dozens of critical journalists were jailed in Turkey, while many media outlets were closed down in the aftermath of the coup attempt in 2016.

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