01 May 2016 Lvl. 1
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Alert created on: 02 May 2016 Turkey

Two-year Prison Sentences for Cumhuriyet Journalists Ceyda Karan and Hikmet Çetinkaya

Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner Article 19 AEJ EFJ/IFJ Index IPI RSF
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Partner Article 19 AEJ EFJ/IFJ Index IPI RSF
On 28 April 2016, an Istanbul criminal court ordered two-year prison sentences for Cumhuriyet journalists Ceyda Karan and Hikmet Çetinkaya, for republishing the Charlie Hebdo “survivor’s edition” cover image. They were convicted on charges for “inciting hate and enmity” but the court acquitted them of separate charges of "insulting religious values". They were awarded increased penalties due to the offence being committed through the media.

The cover image, for which the journalists were found guilty, was published in January 2015 as a gesture of solidarity with Charlie Hebdo, shortly after a massacre at the Parisian office by Islamist gunmen. The Cumhuriyet daily published in its columns a four-page Charlie Hebdo pullout translated into Turkish marking the French satirical weekly's first issue after the deadly terrorist attack on its Paris offices. The edition did not include the front cover featuring Prophet Mohammed, but a smaller version of the cartoon published twice inside the newspaper to illustrate columns on the subject by Karan and Cetinkaya. Bulent Utku, lawyer for Hikmet Çetinkaya and Ceyda Karan, said they will appeal the ruling. The journalists will remain free pending the Court of Appeal’s ruling.
Updates
01 May 2016
In May 2016, Hikmet Çetinkaya and Ceyda Karan’s lawyer appealed the ruling of the Istanbul criminal court sentencing the two journalists to two-year prison sentences. The journalists remain free pending the Court of Appeal’s verdict.
Follow-ups
02 May 2016
OSCE Representative condemns prison sentences against Cumhuriyet journalists in Turkey, urges to ensure their safety
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