Journalist sentenced to prison for press statement in 2015

Sezgin Kartal

Sezgin Kartal, a reporter for ABC Gazetesi and a former member of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) party council, was sentenced Thursday to 10 months in prison on terrorism charges.

A Hatay court convicted Kartal and 10 other defendants of spreading terrorist propaganda in 2015 in a press statement concerning a Kurdish militant who was killed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria. Kartal’s sentence was not suspended, but he is currently free pending appeal.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by SCF show that 211 journalists and media workers were in jail as of March 14, 2019, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 134 were under arrest pending trial while only 77 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 167 journalists who are living in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

The government also closed down some 200 media outlets, including Kurdish news agencies and newspapers, after  a coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

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