Rights defender, newspaper staff given prison sentences for terrorist propaganda

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The İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court on Tuesday handed down prison sentences to Eren Keskin, a leading Turkish human rights defender, and six former employees of the now-closed Özgür Gündem daily for disseminating terrorist propaganda, the Diken news website reported.

The defendants were accused of spreading the propaganda of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in publications.

The court gave Keskin and Reyhan Çapan three years, nine months, while Tahir Temel and Hüseyin Güçlü got one-and-a-half years and Hüseyin Aykol two years, one month.

Reyhan Hacıoğlu and Ayşe Batumlu were given suspended one year, three month sentences.

Keskin was one of the one-day, symbolic editors-in-chief of Özgür Gündem in a campaign supported by journalists, writers and human rights defenders to lend solidarity to the embattled Kurdish daily.

The Turkish government ordered the closure of the newspaper in a decree issued after a failed coup in 2016.

Fifty of the symbolic editors-in-chief were the subjects of prosecution on accusations of spreading terrorist propaganda.

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