Journalists Çoban and Güleş sentenced to prison

Journalists İsmail Çoban, Editor-in-Chief of the Kurdish-language newspaper Azadiya Welat, and MA correspondent Mehmet Güleş have been sentenced to more than three years in prison.

The retrial of İsmail Çoban, Editor-in-Chief of Azadiya Welat newspaper which was closed by a Government Decree (KHK), continued on the allegation that some news and articles published by the newspaper between 4-30 September 2014 and October 1-21 October 2014 spread “propaganda for a terrorist organization”, meaning the PKK.

At the hearing held at the Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court, the prosecution repeated its demand in the previous hearing, demanding a prison sentence of 1 year, 8 months and 25 days.

Çoban’s lawyer, Resul Temur, said: “Considering the fact that my client is a journalist and the news articles which are the subject of the trial consist of activities carried out for the purpose of reporting, it is obvious that he should be acquitted. The allegation made against my client and the prison sentence sought for him result from his journalistic activities.”

The court board said that the 1 year- and 8-month prison sentence announced before the dismissal of the case involved a calculation error and sentenced Çoban to 1 year, 6 months and 22 days in prison.

On the other hand, Mehmet Güleş, a correspondent for DIHA news agency that was shut down in 2016, was sentenced to 1 year and 9 months and 25 days in prison.

The second hearing of Güleş’s retrial, which started following the reversal of a prison sentence of 3 years, 1 month and 15 days, was held at the Elazig 2nd Heavy Penal Court on Tuesday. Güleş is accused of "making propaganda for an organization" through his social media posts containing news articles.

The first hearing of the case was postponed due to the earthquake on February 6. In the second hearing today, Güleş and his lawyer, Resul Temur, connected to the courtroom via sound and video information system from the Diyarbakır Courthouse.

The prosecution demanded that journalist Güleş be sentenced for "making propaganda for a terrorist organization.”

Considering that the previous sentence of 3 years, 1 month and 15 days was overturned by the Court of Cassation due to “disproportion”, the court board sentenced Güleş to 1 year, 9 months and 25 days in prison.