Turkey jails executives of shuttered TV channel Hayatın Sesi

Turkey jails executives of shuttered TV channel Hayatın Sesi

ISTANBUL – Agence France-Presse

An Istanbul court on Sept. 19 jailed three former executives of a closed down leftist television channel for spreading "terror propaganda", reports said.

The court convicted Hayatın Sesi TV's former co-owners Mustafa Kara and İsmail Gökhan Bayram and editor-in chief Gökhan Çetin of disseminating propaganda both for the illegal PKK and the ISIL.

All three were handed jail terms of three years and nine months.

Hayatın Sesi TV, a leftist channel which had been strongly critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and closely covered the summer 2013 protests against his rule, was shut down by emergency decree in the wake of 2016 failed coup.

Media rights groups Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the International Press Institute (IPI) confirmed the three-year nine-month sentences handed down by the court to each of the men.

Prosecutors had asked that they serve at least 13 years in jail.

The three can remain at liberty pending appeal, the Turkey representative of RSF Erol Önderoğlu told AFP, slamming the jail sentences as "harsh and disproportionate".

Press rights groups accuse Erdoğan of squeezing freedom of expression in Turkey, especially after the failed coup, although the authorities insist that no one has been prosecuted without due legal cause.

According to the P24 press freedom group, there are now 183 journalists jailed in Turkey, most of whom were imprisoned in the wake of the failed coup.