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15 years’ imprisonment sought for owner of closed Kurdish daily

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A court in Diyarbakir on Monday accepted an indictment asking for 15 years in prison for the owner of the now-shut-down Kurdish daily Azadiya Welat on charges of terrorist organization membership.

Ramazan Ölçen was the owner of the paper, which was closed by government decree No. 675 and dated Oct. 30, 2016. He is accused of acting in concert with the purposes of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) despite Azadiya Welat’s legal status as a newspaper.

The indictment referred to searches of the newspaper’s premises in Diyarbakır and books and prohibited magazines in Kurdish found in the office. The prosecutor argued in the indictment that these publications were in line with the ideology of the PKK.

Turkey has intensified its crackdown on the Kurdish political movement since a July 15, 2016 coup attempt.

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