Turkish court seeks a seven and half years for three prominent media personalities who supported a critical daily newspaper

Press freedom is yet again under scrutiny in Turkey with the latest attack on media freedom coming from the Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court.

The court has requested that critical Turkish journalist Erol Önderoğlu, President of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TIHV) Prof. Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı and famous Turkish writer Ahmet Nesin be sentenced to seven and half years.

The sentencing comes as the trio are accused of being involved in solidarity events that were against the shutting down of the now-defunct Turkish daily, Ozgur Gundem.

The prosecutor listed charges as ‘incitement for committing a crime’, ’praising a crime and the criminal’ and ‘spreading propaganda of a terrorist organization’, as such he demanded a prison sentence between one and a half years and seven and a half years.

The three accused, in their strong show of symbolic solidarity, took charge of the position of the daily’s editor-in-chief for a few hours. Following this, the Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court filed cases against all three.

According to a Turkish news agency, DHA, the case was heard at the Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court on Wednesday, and in attendance was Fincancı and Önderoğlu. The prosecutor, Abdullah Gul, expressed his opinion and justified the merits of his suggested sentences.

The prosecutor stated the three names on specified dates became the editor-in-chief of the newspaper, and during that period articles “spreading PKK propaganda” were published by the newspaper.

The court adjourned and the next sitting will be when the defendants and their lawyers present their defense.

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