Journalist sent to prison after employer fails to pay fine for offensive column

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Turkish journalist Hakan Gülseven was arrested on Tuesday in Balıkesir province after the media outlet he was working for, the Yurt daily, failed to pay a fine resulting from a conviction in 2014, the Diken news website reported.

Gülseven wrote a column criticizing what he called insulting remarks made by former Sakarya Governor Hüseyin Avni Coş and was tried and handed down an 11 month, 20 day jail sentence, which the court later commuted to a TL 7,000 fine.

The Yurt daily could not pay the fine, according to his lawyer, Deniz İpek, and the verdict has now been converted to 350 days in prison.

Gülseven was sent to Burhaniye Prison in Balıkesir following his detention by police.

Turkey, which currently has more than 250 journalists and media workers in jail, is ranked 157th among 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index released on April 26 by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

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