Journalist-writer Murat Çelikkan receives 18 months jail sentence
Journalist-author Murat Çelikkan, who joined the Editor-in-Chief on Watch campaign in solidarity with the Özgür Gündem newspaper shut down by the AKP government, has been given a jail sentence of 18 months.
Court hearing in the case against participants of the Editor-in-Chief on Watch campaign in solidarity with the Özgür Gündem newspaper is being held in Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court. Academic Beyza Üstün and journalist-writer Murat Çelikkan are prosecuted seperately for the same action. The first court ruling was made in the case of Çelikkan.
Çelikkan stated that truth is the first target in the conditions of war and conflict in his statement of defense during the hearing that is monitored by many journalists. He said “With the news it published during the 90s, Özgür Gündem newspaper conveyed the truths to the public.”
After Çelikkan’s defense, his lawyers demanded their client’s release. However, the judges sentenced Çelikkan to one year in prison for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” and increased the sentence to 18 months for “committing this crime through the press and media”.
Üstün’s hearing continued at the time of this news article’s publication, and the court is expected to issue a verdict after her defense.
According to the Solidarity with Arrested Journalists Platform (TGDP), 158 journalists, 18 of whom are chief editors, are jailed in Turkish prisons as of May 11, 2017. Turkey is undoubtedly the biggest prison for journalists in the world.