06 Dec 2018 Lvl. 2
Alert created on: 11 Oct 2017 Turkey

WSJ Journalist Ayla Albayrak Sentenced to Prison by Turkish court

Source of threatState
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ
Partner EFJ/IFJ
On 10 October 2017, a Turkish court sentenced Wall Street Journal reporter Ayla Albayrak to two years and one month in prison, declaring her guilty of engaging in terrorist propaganda in support of a banned Kurdish separatist organization through one of her articles. Ms. Albayrak, who is currently in New York, has announced her intention to appeal the decision. Turkish legal actions against Ms. Albayrak began after the publication on 19 August 2015, on the WSJ's website of her article “Urban Warfare Escalates in Turkey’s Kurdish-Majority Southeast.” The article and accompanying video reported on the state of a conflict in Silopi, Turkey, between Turkish security forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. It included interviews with the local mayor and residents, a Turkish government official, as well as a representative of an organization Turkey says is the youth unit of the PKK. In November of the same year, Ms. Albayrak, who has dual Finnish and Turkish citizenship, received a written order on her door to visit her local police station in Istanbul where she was notified she was under investigation for spreading terrorist propaganda. Ms. Albayrak said in a statement included in the court documents that the original article didn’t include any praise for the group, but rather provided a balanced and objective view of urban warfare that had gripped areas of Turkey’s southeast at the time.
06 Dec 2018: On 13 November 2018, the Gaziantep Court of Appeal has overturned the prison sentence given to Ayla Albayrak. On 6 December 2018, the partner organisations to the Platform declared this case to be “resolved”, concluding it was no longer an active threat to media freedom.
15 Nov 2018
On 13 November 2018, the Gaziantep Court of Appeal has overturned the prison sentence given to Ayla Albayrak on 10 October 2017. The court dismissed the case on procedural grounds, citing statute of limitations, and did not rule on the substance of the charges.
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