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Turkish prosecutor seeks 15 years in prison for Kurdish journalist accused of terrorism

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A prosecutor in southeastern Turkey has requested up to 15 years in prison for Beritan Canözer, a journalist accused of membership in a terrorist organization due to her involvement in pro-Kurdish media, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported.

A reporter for Jinnews, Canözer was previously detained on April 25 as part of a widespread investigation into Kurdish journalists and released two months later. She appeared before a Diyarbakır court for the first time on Wednesday.

During the hearing she told the court that her news coverage was being used against herself as criminal evidence and that she was acquitted of similar charges in the past.

It’s common for journalists and media workers in Turkey to face terrorism-related accusations due to their professional activities. Those employed in pro-Kurdish media outlets frequently are accused of membership in or propaganda on behalf of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community.

Turkey’s anti-terror laws are often criticized by human rights groups and international organizations for being overly broad, giving authorities too much room for interpretation.

Nearly 200 media outlets, including dozens of pro-Kurdish organizations, were summarily shut down by executive decree-laws for alleged terrorist affiliation following a coup attempt in July 2016.

Turkey is ranked 165th out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders’ latest press freedom index.

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