Turkish court jails Kurdish journalist Reyhan Çapan

A Turkish court ruled to jail journalist Reyhan Çapan, an editor of the now-closed pro-Kurdish daily newspaper Özgür Gündem, in Turkey’s Artvin province.

Çapan, who was detained on May 10 in the Hopa district of Artvin, was referred to a local court on Saturday. Çapan was previously sentenced to one year, three months’ imprisonment for her work as an editor for the banned Özgür Gündem newspaper. In addition, fines imposed on her have been converted into prison terms.

Çapan was taken to Artvin Prison and will be transferred to Sivas Women’s Prison in the coming days.

Kemal Sancılı, the publisher of the now-closed pro-Kurdish Özgür Gündem newspaper, was also arrested by a Turkish court on Friday.

According to a report by the pro-Kurdish Fırat news agency (ANF) on Friday, Sancılı was detained in the Ipsala district of Edirne province on the Greek border region two days ago. Sancılı was taken to the Ipsala Courthouse on Friday after police processing. He appeared before a judge and was put in pretrial detention in Silivri Prison.

According to the Solidarity Platform for Jailed Journalists (TGDP), as of May 11, 223 journalists  were in Turkish prisons. Among them are 31 concession holders and editors. With the arrest of journalist Çapan, the number has risen to 224.

Turkey is ranked 157th among 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Wednesday. If Turkey falls two more places, it will make it to the list of countries on the blacklist, which have the poorest record in press freedom.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by SCF show that 254 journalists and media workers were in jail as of May 8, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 192 were under arrest pending trial while only 62 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 142 journalists who are living in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the government also closed down some 200 media outlets, including Kurdish news agencies and newspapers, after the coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016.

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