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BIA report: 142 aggravated life sentences sought for 301 journalists in Turkey

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A recently released quarterly report, the BIA Media Monitoring Report, has revealed that 136 journalists were in Turkish jails as of July 1 while 301 journalists are facing 142 aggravated life sentences on various charges, the Cumhuriyet daily has reported.

The journalists are accused of such crimes as “taking part in a coup attempt,” “membership in a terrorist organization,” “disseminating terrorist propaganda,” “insulting the Turkish president” and “insulting state organs.”

During the April-May-June 2017 period, 54 journalists faced charges of “taking part in a coup attempt,” while two of them were given 45-year sentences. Five of the journalists are facing life imprisonment on charges of “destroying the integrity and unity of the state,” while 40 journalists are facing 306-year sentences on charges of “disseminating terrorist propaganda” or “publishing terrorist organization members’ statements.” Four of the journalists were released while five were given suspended sentences of 10 years, three months.

A total of 167 journalists are being prosecuted with 3,798 years in prison being sought on charges of “leading a terrorist organization,” “membership in a terrorist organization,” “committing a crime on behalf of a terror organization while not being a member of it” and “supporting a terror organization.” Thirteen of the journalists were released while two of them were given a prison sentence of 12 years, six months.

According to the BIA Media Monitoring Report, 78 of the arrested journalists used to work for media outlets affiliated with the faith-based Gülen movement, accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a coup attempt on July, 2016, and 30 of them used to work for Kurdish media outlets. Eleven of the jailed journalists worked for the critical Cumhuriyet daily and nine were jailed on charges of membership in an illegal organization or making terrorist propaganda.

Out of the 136 jailed journalists, 84 of them are either still under investigation or an indictment in their cases has just been filed. Nineteen of them have been convicted and 23 are still being prosecuted.

Thirty-two journalists were in prison during the same period in 2016. Half of them were convicted, five were being prosecuted and 11 were under investigation.

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