Kurdish journalist to serve prison sentence on terrorism charges

Journalist Sıddık Güler

Journalist Sıddık Güler was arrested and sent to prison after his conviction on terrorism-related charges was upheld by the Supreme Court of Appeals, the Sendika news website reported on Monday.

Güler was sentenced to more than two years in prison on conviction of spreading terrorist propaganda.

He is the editor-in-chief of Serhat News, an outlet based in the eastern province of Van.

Journalists in Turkey commonly face accusations of terrorism, insult, denigration and inciting hatred in connection with their work. Recent legislation enacted by the government has also criminalized spreading “false or misleading information.”

Those reporting on the situation of the Kurdish minority and the Kurdish political movement often face charges of membership in or disseminating propaganda for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed separatist group designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community.

The prosecutors of these journalists typically cite their news coverage and social media commentary as evidence in their cases. The indictments rely on Turkey’s anti-terror laws, which are frequently criticized for being overly broad, allowing too much room for interpretation.

Many human rights groups have also reported a lack of judicial independence in the country, which was ranked 117th among 142 countries in the rule of law index published by the World Justice Project (WJP) in October, dropping one rank in comparison to last year.

Turkey is among the top jailers of journalists in the world and was ranked 165th in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 2023 World Press Freedom Index, among 180 countries, not far from North Korea, which occupies the bottom of the list.

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