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Kurdish journalist sentenced to 6 years in prison over 2 books on PKK

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An İstanbul court on Thursday sentenced Kurdish journalist Arzu Demir to six years in prison on charges of disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization in two books she authored on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

According to the decision by the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court, Demir was convicted of “propaganda for an [illegal] organization,” “praising a crime and a criminal” and “inciting people to commit crimes” in her two books titled “Dağın Kadın Hali” (Womanly State of the Mountain) and “Devrimin Rojava Hali” (Revolution’s State of Rojava).

Speaking to the Bianet news portal, Demir said her trial was a “cyclical political trial” as she was expecting the prosecutor to impose a heavy penalty.

I was expecting this. My response is: I am glad I wrote, I am still writing,” she said.

This verdict proves that the trial was a political one. I’ve just practiced journalism. The state is fighting an organization which it calls ‘terrorist’; the people have a right to know about this organization.”

She was sentenced to three years for each of her books.

Demir’s book “Womanly State of the Mountain,” which comprised interviews with 11 female PKK militants, was published by the Ceylan Publishing House in November 2014. Following its seventh edition, the İstanbul 3rd Penal Court of Peace banned the reprinting of the book and ordered that it be pulled off the shelves.

Demir, who worked as a journalist for 17 years with the Etkin News Agency (ETHA) and the Fırat News Agency (ANF), was among 46 Kurdish journalists who were put on trial as part of an investigation into the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), an umbrella organization that encompasses the PKK.

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