Three-year jail sentence sought for journalist Baysal due to tweets on Afrin

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Nurcan Baysal

A prosecutor is seeking a three-year jail sentence for journalist Nurcan Baysal due to her tweets critical of an ongoing Turkish military operation in the Kurdish-controlled Afrin region of Syria, according to the Mesopotamia news agency.

Baysal was detained on the night of Jan. 21 after police teams broke down the door of her house. The journalist was released pending trial by a court on Jan. 24.

The investigation into Baysal has been completed and an indictment has been drafted by the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. The journalist is accused of inciting the public to hatred and enmity.

Baysal writes for the T24 news portal. The journalist’s trial will take place at the Diyarbakır 7th Penal Court of First Instance.

In one of her tweets, Baysal wrote: “Racist fascists touting war! I am against war, I am Kurdish, I am a Gypsy, I am a Jew, I am an Arab, I am LGBT, I am Armenian, I am Yazidi… In short, I am everything you hate. Do not follow me!”

The journalist has denied the charges and said she just shared her views about the operation as a journalist. Baysal said she is against the killing of children and war.

The Turkish military and Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters on Jan. 20 launched Operation Olive Branch in Afrin against the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Turkey sees as the Syrian extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The Turkish government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have reacted strongly to people who oppose the operation, and prosecutor’s offices have initiated investigations into those who share social media messages critical of the operation.

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