Turkish court sentences Kurdish journalist to 8 years in prison

A Turkish court has sentenced Kurdish journalist Muhammet Doğru to 8 years and 6 months in prison on Monday. It was reported that journalist Doğru appeared in Sakarya 2nd High Criminal Court for allegations of “being a member of a terrorist organization” and “making terrorist propaganda.”

Doğru was working for pro-Kurdish Dicle news agency (DİHA), which was shut down by a government decree under the rule of emergency declared in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

The same court has also sentenced 12 other defendants, Muhammet Emin Özvariş, Leyla Ayap, Saliha Aras, Mikail Erkan, Zozan Han, Ayşe Durmaz, Filiz Yavuz, Semih Batikan, Doğan Toğcu, Nesih Soydan and Gül Narin Çelik to 6 years and 3 months in prison each.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by the SCF has showed that 240 journalists and media workers are in jails as of February 22, 2018, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 205 are arrested pending trial, only 35 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 140 journalists who live 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 more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt.

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