UK academic in Turkey, Christopher Stephenson, acquitted of terror charges
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
DHA photoA British academic who was taken into custody on suspicion of conducting terrorist propaganda for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in March was acquitted of the charges on June 23.
Chris Stephenson, a lecturer in computer science at Istanbul’s Bilgi University, was acquitted of terror charges on June 23, during the first hearing of the case in Istanbul’s Çağlayan Courthouse.
Stephenson had been facing up to five years in prison.
The academic was detained on March 15 in front of the Çağlayan Courthouse, where he was supporting three Turkish academics detained as part of a probe into signatories of a petition calling for an end to clashes between security forces and PKK militants in January. He was taken into custody upon a prosecutor’s instruction on accusations of making propaganda for a terror organization for possessing a Nevruz leaflet printed by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
He was released on March 16.
The leaflet, which featured pictures of masked people lighting fires and building barricades on the streets, were seized from Stephenson’s bag while he was entering the courthouse, the indictment stated.
It also said the leaflet showed PKK and Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) flags in a meeting area and were prepared by members of the PKK in support of the organization.
Based in Turkey for 25 years, Stephenson denied having any connection to a terrorist group.