28 Nov 2018 Lvl. 1
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Alert created on: 15 Jun 2016 Turkey
Journalist Nedim Türfent Sentenced to Jail for Interviewing Members of Illegal Organisation
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On 12 May 2016, the journalist Nedim Türfent working for the pro-Kurdish Dicle News Agency (DIHA) has been detained by the police in the Eastern Province of Van and the next day he was arrested by a court in Hakkâri. During his interrogation by the authorities, the journalist was questioned about a story published on the Kurdish Civil Protection Units (YPS) and the news he shared on his twitter account. Mr Türfent is accused of being a member of illegal organisation (PKK) and doing propaganda on behalf of the same organisation, all of the charges are refuted by the defendant. "Interviewing organisation members does not make one an organisation member", he said during his court hearing. All of the 13 initial witnesses that the prosecutors called to testify against Türfent later recanted their written testimony saying police extracted those statements under threat or torture, as reported by Evrensel daily. According to DIHA, the journalist received several threats from police officers before being arrested.
28 Nov 2018
A court in Hakkâri court on 15 December 2017, found Türfent guilty of "being a member of a [terrorist] organisation," and sentenced him to eight years and nine months in prison. The defense lawyer Harika Karataş said that 19 out of 20 prosecution witnesses recanted their testimony at Türfent's trial and said that they were subjected to police threats and, in some cases, torture, to testify against the journalist. Despite the discrepancy, the court accepted some of the witnesses' original testimony as evidence. In November 2018, a local appeals court rejected an appeal for the case to be sent to the national Supreme Court of Appeals.
Journalists in detention