Two journalists get 5-month jail time for ‘defaming Turkish state’

An İstanbul court handed down 6-month prison sentence to the pro-Kurdish online news portal Özgürlükçü Demokrasi’s former editor-in-chief Ersin Çaksu and its managing editor Harun Epli. The court reduced the punishment down to 5 months for each while also suspending it on probation.

The journalists are charged of “defaming the state apparatus and its military unit in public.” The investigation against the journalists had been prepared after a news story on Özgürlükçü Demokrasi, titled “The operation: Killing Children,” claimed that Turkish soldiers killed children in Syria’s northern villages.

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 255 journalists and media workers are now in jails as of October 26, 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 24 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. (SCF with

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