Journalist Aygül attacked by AKP mayor's bodyguards sentenced to prison

Sinan Aygül, an investigative journalist who specializes in exposing corruption in the AKP municipality of Tatvan in the province of Bitlis, was the victim of a violent attack in June 2023 and was sentenced to prison.

Bitlis Journalists’ Association President Sinan Aygül was attacked by police officer Engin Kaplan and boxer Yücel Baysalı, who are both bodyguards and relatives of Tatvan Mayor Mehmet Emin Geylani, in Tatvan district of Bitlis on 17 June 2023. A lawsuit was filed against journalist Aygül on the allegation that he insulted Yücel Baysalı after the attack.

During a hearing at Tatvan 1st Criminal Court of First Instance on Wednesday, journalist Aygül was sentenced to 2 months and 5 days of imprisonment. If the prison sentence is approved, Aygül will serve the entire sentence in a closed prison.

On the other hand, the court referred Aygül to Forensic Medicine and issued a report stating that "there is no fixed scar on his face". If the report is taken as a basis, the penalty to be imposed on the attackers will be significantly reduced.

Pointing out that the process was as unusual as the manner of the attack, Aygül said that he was sentenced before the attackers and that he would be arrested because he was attacked.

Aygül said, "I was attacked because I defended the interests of the public, and I will be imprisoned because I did not die, I came back from death."

The journalist pointed out that the report given by the Forensic Medicine would affect the outcome of the trial, but that it was a contradictory report even within itself.

Stating that it was not an isolated incident but no steps were taken against the instigators, Aygül said that the perpetrators would almost be acquitted despite the video footage and confessional statements.

On the other hand, the second hearing of the case in which the attackers are tried without arrest will be held on 25 January Thursday at 15:00 at Tatvan 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance.