RSF calls on the Turkish appeal court in
Diyarbakir to cancel the arrest warrant against
January 9, 2011
PARIS, — Reporters Without Borders is
appalled to learn of the surreal 138-year prison
sentence passed against Emin Demir, former editor of
Turkey’s sole Kurdish-language daily Azadiya Welat,
for “propaganda in support of Kurdish rebels” and
“belonging to a terrorist organisation”.
Demir, aged 24, was charged with supporting the
cause of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), seen as
a terrorist organisation by a number of countries,
including Turkey, the European Union and the United
States. The court issued a warrant for her arrest
since she did not attend the hearing.
The journalist has the right to appeal against her
sentence. Her lawyer, Servet Osen, has called for
his client’s acquittal in the name of freedom of
Emine Demir, former editor of the Kurdish daily Azadiye Welat
newspaper, sentenced to 138 years in Turkish prison.
He stressed that Demir
was not under orders from the (PKK) and that her
articles should be viewed as reporting and not as
acts of propaganda.
sentenced on 30
December 2010, under Article 314 of the Turkish
criminal code and Article 7 paragraph 2 of the
anti-terror law (LAT), to 18 months in jail for each
one of 84 articles written between 2008 and 2009.
Reporters Without Borders repeats its condemnation
of Turkey’s abusive and insane use of the
The newspaper Azadyia Welat has already been
suspended eight times by the Turkish justice system.
At least nine of its journalists are currently in
prison, including two other former editors,
sentenced on similar charges to those against Demir,www.ekurd.netto
unbelievable sentences. Vedat Kursun was sentenced
on 13 May 2010 to 166 years in prison. Ozan Kilinç
was sentenced in his absence on 9 February to 2010
to 21 years in prison. He was also stripped of his
civic rights. The three ex editors have now been
sentenced to a total of 325 years in prison between
This judicial harassment of the country’s sole
Kurdish-language newspaper contrasts with political
statements in support of openness towards the
Kurdish minority that have been made since 2009. The
Kurdish question remains taboo and is used as a
pretext for legal proceedings against too many media
and journalists in Turkey.
Editor of the newspaper Hawar and Aram Publishing
owner, Bedri Adanir, faces 50 years in jail for
publishing articles about the PKK and publication of
books collecting defence arguments at the ruling on
the trial of PKK leader, Abdullah Öcalan, before the
European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The trial of
Adanir, in custody since 5 January 2010, is to
resume on 3 March 2011.
Journalist Berivan Eker, former editor of Renge
Heviya Jine, is also at risk of a 21-year jail
sentence. She was arrested on 5 December 2010 and
charged with “membership of the PKK” and making
“propaganda for the organisation”. Her trial is due
to open on 25 January 2011. The prosecutor argues
that she committed an offence in the name of the
organisation even if she is not actually a member of
it. This shows yet again the misuse of the
anti-terror law, the content of which is already
This unfairness has moreover been at least half
admitted through the release of journalist Erdal
Güler, former editor of the daily Devrimci Demokrasi.
The Istanbul appeal court on 26 October ruled that
he had not been informed of the sentence against him
in 2007 in conformity with the law. Even though this
release should be widely welcomed, it illustrates
the dissensions within Turkey’s judicial apparatus
when the law is hijacked for political reasons.
Reporters Without Borders calls on the appeal court
in Diyarbakir to cancel the arrest warrant against
Emin Demir and on the appeal court to reject the
iniquitous and disproportionate sentence against the
journalist. The organisation repeats its call for
amendments to the anti-terror law and for the
release of Berivan Eker, Bedri Adanir, Vedat Kursun,
Ozan Kilinç and all the other journalists imprisoned
under this law for their work as journalists.
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