Dündar faces up to three years in jail on terror charges

Dündar faces up to three years in jail on terror charges

ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
Dündar faces up to three years in jail on terror charges

AFP photo

An Istanbul court has accepted an indictment against journalist Can Dündar on charges of “printing and publishing terrorist organizations’ statements” during his one-day editorial duty undertaken in solidarity with a now-closed daily newspaper.
The indictment against Dündar and daily Özgür Gündem’s managing editor, İnan Kızılkaya, sought between one year and three years in jail for the suspects over the alleged crime, committed when a news story titled “HPD actions are ongoing” and subtitled “A guerilla was killed” was published in the June 22 edition of the daily, referring to the Peoples’ Defense Units, a sub-group of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

According to the indictment, the story and its image depicted the “armed actions of the organization as legitimate and intended to praise the organization.”

It added that because the author of the story was not identified, Özgür Gündem’s editor-in-chief on that day and its managing editor should be held responsible.   

The document also noted that Özgür Gündem was shut down for making “PKK terror propaganda and was run as the organization’s media outlet.”

While Dündar’s defense could not been taken, Kızılkaya denied the charges, saying the related news stories “should be considered within the freedom of press.”  

The first hearing of the case is scheduled for Dec. 22. 

A total of 44 prominent journalists - including Hasan Cemal, Şeyhmus Diken, Tuğrul Eryılmaz and Ayşe Düzkan - served as one-day editors-in-chief of Özgür Gündem during the campaign.

Özgür Gündem, which has been repeatedly closed down in the past and is seen as being close to the PKK, started the campaign on May 3 to provide solidarity and defend press freedom against a number of investigations it has faced.

Dündar, the former editor-in-chief of daily Cumhuriyet, was earlier this year sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison for revealing state secrets in a report on a shipment of arms intercepted at the Syrian border in January 2014.

Dündar is believed to be outside the country after he was freed earlier this year pending an appeal following his trial.

He said last month that he would not surrender himself to the Turkish courts because he had lost faith in the judiciary after the failed July 15 coup and the subsequent state of emergency declared by the government.