Turkish journalist faces 12 years in prison for announcing personal data leak

Turkish prosecutors are seeking a prison sentence of 12 years for journalist İbrahim Haskoloğlu, who was briefly detained in April after announcing that hackers had stolen personal information from government websites, the journalist announced on social media.

In his tweets in April, Haskoloğlu said a group of hackers had contacted him two months earlier and told him they had obtained Turks’ personal information from government websites.

The journalist criticized the Turkish prosecutors’ filing of an indictment, saying, “No investigation was launched for people who were not able to protect personal information.”

As part of an investigation launched by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, Haskoloğlu was arrested on April 19 after he posted the news on Twitter, illustrating it with a partially obscured photo of what he said was President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ID. Haskoloğlu was released on April 27 pending trial.

As well as sharing the purported photo of Erdoğan’s ID, Haskoloğlu also published an image of what he said was the ID card of Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization. Most of the information on the cards was concealed.

His lawyer, Emrah Karatay, said at the time that his client was arrested on a charge of illegally obtaining and disseminating personal information in his social media posts. “The reason for his formal arrest was that he did not notify prosecutors,” Karatay said.

Broadcaster NTV said the interior ministry had filed a complaint about Haskoloğlu after his posts, prompting an investigation by the İstanbul prosecutor’s office.

Turkey is one of the world’s top jailers of journalists, and mainstream media is controlled by people close to Erdoğan’s government, which denies accusations by human rights groups that it muzzles the media.

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