Turkey convicts 2 Kurdish journalists of insult, libel

Journalist Özgür Boğatekin

Courts in eastern Turkey have convicted and handed down sentences to Kurdish journalists Hacı Boğatekin and Özgür Boğatekin, their lawyer announced on social media.

Hacı Boğatekin was sentenced to one year, six months in prison on charges of libel for reporting on bribery allegations implicating local judge Batuhan Maraşlı, while Özgür Boğatekin was given a suspended fine corresponding to imprisonment of 282 days on insult charges, even though he was being retried after his previous conviction was found in violation of his rights by the Constitutional Court.

Lawyer Hüseyin Boğatekin, who represented the journalists, announced the convictions on social media.

“Two Kurdish journalists were tried yesterday. Of course, since they are not ‘white,’ they were not offered any solidarity from their colleagues,” he said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Turkish authorities commonly prosecute journalists who report on allegations of corruption, bribery, nepotism or misconduct implicating members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), bureaucrats and members of the judiciary.

Journalists in the country frequently face charges of insult, libel, fomenting enmity or spreading misinformation, while their reports are typically censored.

Turkey was ranked 165th among 180 countries in the 2023 World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

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