Kurdish journalist sentenced to 8 years and 9 months in prison

Journalist Nedim Türfent received threats of execution during the period of the curfews and has been in prison for 19 months for his journalistic activity in Gever. He has been sentenced to 8 years and 9 months in prison.

Kurdish journalist Nedim Türfent received threats of executions from social media accounts used by the army and the police for the news he authored on the human rights violations during the “curfew” declared in Hakkari’s Yüksekova district in 2015-2016, and was arrested on May 13, 2016 in Van where he was visiting and was put in a solitary cell. Dicle News Agency, DİHA, the agency he worked for, was shut down with a Statutory Decree later, and a lawsuit was filed against Nedim Türfent demanding 22.5 years in prison for him.

The indictment prepared by the Hakkari Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office and accepted by the Hakkari 2nd Heavy Penal Court accused Türfent of “membership to a terrorist organization” and “terrorist propaganda”. The prosecutor included some 17 pages of news stories and photographs published in national newspapers on the PKK and YPS' founding, their structure, statements made by KCK Executive Council members, democratic autonomy, YPS’ founding in Yüksekova and their activities.

The statements included in the indictment say Türfent is a journalist in Hakkari, he works for the DİHA news agency, and he was seen capturing footage with his camera and video camera.

Social media posts allegedly belonging to Türfent are also criminalized in the indictment which lists sharing and commenting on news stories, photographs and video footage on clashes, human rights violations and the destruction in cities that have declared self governance as criminal evidence.

Fifth hearing in the case against Türfent was held in Hakkari 2nd Heavy Penal Court on Friday.

Following the defense of lawyers who put emphasis on the unlawful arrest of their client, the court board ruled continuation of imprisonment, and 8 years and 9 months prison sentence for Türfent.

During the first hearing of the case, 13 out of 24 witnesses had confessed that they had been forced to give a statement against Türfent after they were subjected to torture. Out of the remaining 11 witnesses, one being secret, 4 also stated later on that they had been forced to sign a paper of statement against Türfent under torture.