Turkish gov’t sentences two Kurdish journalists to ten months in prison

A Turkish court has sentenced two Kurdish journalists to 10 months in prison for publishing a statement made by a Kurdish separatist organisation Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) on Friday.

According to a report by pro-Kurdish Fıran news agency, Yılmaz Yıldız, the editor-in-chief of Özgürlükçü Demokrasi newspaper and editor İshak Yasul of the paper have been sentenced to ten months in prison each for publishing a statement of KCK.

During the 2nd hearing at İstanbul 36th Criminal Court, the court board has reportedly said that the KCK statement published by Özgürlükçü Demokrasi contains violence and sentenced the journalists to one year in prison. The court later reduced the sentences to ten months for the journalist and suspended the pronouncement of the judgement.

Meanwhile, jailed journalist and artist Zehra Doğan’s paintings will reportedly be exhibited in Geneva for three days by the Amnesty International’s Switzerland Branch. The Geneva Municipality also supports the exhibition titled “Les yeux grands ouverts/Eyes Wide Open”, which can be visited in the Alhambra Cafe-Bistro between November 24 and December 10 and will include Doğan’s paintings depicting the Turkish government’s persecutions in Nusaybi.

Geneva Mayor Rémi Pagani will give the opening speech in the exhibition which includes Doğan’s paintings. Arrested journalist Doğan was recently awarded the freedom of thought prize by the Switzerand Freethinkers.

On Thursday, Turkish police detained Democratic Society Congress (DTK) co-chair Leyla Güven in Diyarbakır as she was leaving her home early morning. According to a report by pro-Kurdish Mezopotomya news agency Güven was detained over her non-attendance in a court hearing and was reportedly taken to Diyarbakır Courthouse. She was released after she gave her statement to the prosecutor’s office.

Turkish authorities started an investigation about Güven for taking a photo of Selahattin Demirtaş, jailed co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP), and shared it on her social media accounts last year. Diyarbakır 4th Criminal Court accepted an indictment that demands Güven to be imprisoned up to 35 years. She is facing “terrorist propaganda” charges.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by the Stockholm Centre for Freedom (SCF) has showed that 257 journalists and media workers are now in jails as of November 16, 2017, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 231 are arrested pending trial, only 26 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 135 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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