Journalist and human rights activist Murat Çelikkan, who was handed down an 18-month jail sentence in May, is going to be imprisoned for 13 months unless he is allowed to enjoy judicial probation after spending 45 days in prison, the Diken news website reported.
Çelikkan, who stood trial for serving as “editor-in-chief on duty” for the pro-Kurdish Özgür Gündem daily, was given the sentence by the Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court on charges of disseminating the propaganda of a terrorist organization.
He was among a group of intellectuals and press freedom activists who launched a campaign in solidarity with the daily last year, which was under heavy government pressure. Prominent journalists and academics served as the “editor-in-chief on duty” for the newspaper as an act of solidarity.
Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights, voiced disappointment over the sentence and said Çelikkan made invaluable contributions to his office and the Council of Europe as co-director of Hakikat Adalet Hafıza Merkezi (Truth Justice Memory Center), notably on issues relating to missing persons.
Özgür Gündem, along with 14 other media outlets, was eventually shut down by a government decree on issued on Oct. 29, 2016.