Istanbul court hands five-month sentence to daily Evrensel executives
ANKARAAn Istanbul court on June 6 handed a five-month sentence to the managing director and former publisher of daily Evrensel for violating Article 301 of the Turkish penal code on “insulting Turkey, the Turkish nation, or Turkish state institutions.”
Evrensel reported that Çağrı Sarı and Arif Koşar were charged after publishing a report in November 2016 about clashes in the southeastern district of Nusaybin.
The lawyer of the Evrensel’s executives, Devrim Avcı, requested his clients’ acquittal at the 2nd Istanbul Penal Court of First Instance in the Çağlayan district on June 6, saying publication of such news did not violate Article 301 and the news report originated from the Dicle News Agency (DİHA).
“As the Supreme Court of Appeals has indicated in many of its rulings: ‘The job of the press is not just to convey the events and news it receives in a simple way. Fundamentally, the presentation of news with a striking title to the reader is a necessity of journalism,’” Avcı reportedly stated at court.
“Also in the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights [ECHR], decisions regarding Article 301 are given to the advantage of the defendants. The assertion of ideas cannot be a crime. As it is not the case that the security forces never commit a crime, reporting what has been done as news should not be considered a crime,” the lawyer reportedly said.
The Istanbul court reportedly gave six-month jail sentences to Sarı and Koşar before reducing it to five months, as required by the law. Announcement of the sentence was adjourned because Sarı and Koşar were not previously convicted in a case for more than three months and the court was satisfied that the defendants would not again commit a crime.
Avcı reportedly said that they would take appeal against the sentence.