Prosecutor seeks up to 13 years in jail for journalist Hasan Cemal over ‘terror propaganda’
An Istanbul prosecutor on March 9 demanded up to 13 years in prison for prominent Turkish journalist Hasan Cemal on charges of “carrying out terror propaganda” in a column published in 2013, Doğan News Agency has reported.
The prosecutor stated that Cemal had conducted terror propaganda by “praising and justifying violent activities of the [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK” in his serial column titled “Withdrawal Diary” published on the T24 news website on May 15, 2013. The series charted the withdrawal of PKK militants from Turkish soil during the now collapsed peace process.
Cemal pleaded not guilty in the first hearing of the case at the Istanbul 24th court of serious crimes, saying his column should be reviewed within the context of journalism.
“Peace was being defended during that period. A path for peace was being paved and the ways of the mountain [PKK headquarters] were being closed. As a journalist, my writings were solely about searching for answers on how the path to the mountains was once paved and how it could be closed,” he said.
However, the prosecutor demanded between one year and 10 months to 13 years in jail for Cemal, increasing the upper limit of the crime from seven-and-a-half years by citing it as a repeated offence committed through a series of articles.
The court board later adjourned the hearing to a future date in order to allow Cemal’s lawyers to prepare their plea against the indictment.
The indictment had initially sought between one-and-a-half years to seven-and-a-half years on the same charges.
The procesutor’s indictment came two days after Cemal was acquitted on the same charges in a separate case, though he was still given a pecuniary fine of 6,000 Turkish Liras.