Journalist deported from Greece to Turkey to serve sentence for PKK conviction

Journalist Murat Verim

Journalist Murat Verim, who was deported after his asylum application was rejected in Greece, was arrested and sent to prison in western Turkish province of Edirne on Tuesday, the Mezopotamya news agency reported.

The Midyat Prosecutor General’s Office in eastern province of Mardin filed a lawsuit against Dicle News Agency (DİHA) reporter Verim in 2016 for his alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) based on an article about “the liberation of the Kurds in Turkey.”

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community.

Verim fled to Greece after being sentenced to six years in prison for “committing a crime on behalf of a terrorist organization.”

Verim was arrested at the Turkish-Greek border following the deportation and taken to Edirne prison to serve his 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, which has been waging a bloody campaign in Turkey’s southeast since 1984.

Rights groups routinely accuse the Turkish government of trying to keep the press under control by imprisoning journalists, eliminating media outlets, overseeing the purchase of media brands by pro-government conglomerates and using regulatory authorities to exert financial pressure, especially after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan survived a failed coup in July 2016.

Turkey, which is among 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, released in early May.

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