Veteran Turkish journalist faces up to 9 years in prison

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Hasan Cemal

A Turkish prosecutor has demanded up to nine years, four months of imprisonment for journalist Hasan Cemal for allegedly spreading terrorist propaganda, the Diken news website reported on Tuesday.

The 75-year-old journalist is standing trial for a piece he wrote in 2015 on the T24 news website.

In the article Cemal shared his observations from Diyarbakır at a time when the Kurdish-dominated city was ravaged by heavy clashes between the Turkish armed forces and militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

He also wrote about the plight of civilians trapped amid the fighting and the dire humanitarian conditions in which they found themselves.

Cemal is now charged with spreading propaganda aimed at legitimizing the PKK.

The hearing was adjourned after his lawyer demanded time to prepare a defense against the prosecutor’s opinion.

A press freedom report by the Council of Europe recently qualified Turkey as the world’s largest jailer of journalists.

The country was also ranked 157th out of 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders.

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