Prison sentence sought for Kurdish journalist İsmail Çoban

İsmail Çoban, Editor-in-Chief of the closed Azadiya Welat newspaper, faces prison sentence for alleged propaganda for a terrorist organization.

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

While Çoban did not attend the hearing held at Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court on Tuesday, his lawyer Resul Temur was present. The prosecutor demanded 1 year, 8 months and 25 days jail time for Çoban in accordance with “Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law No. 3713” which regulates "organizational propaganda". The prosecution argued that since the crime was committed through the press, the prison term for Çoban should be increased in accordance with Article 43 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).

Çoban's lawyer requested extra time to defend his client against the prosecutor’s opinion.

The court adjourned the hearing to April 18.

According to the Dicle Fırat Journalists Association (DFG) Report on Rights Violations Against Journalists in the month of March, the crackdown on the press is increasing gradually as the elections are approaching. The association reported that 8 journalists were attacked, 16 others were detained, one journalist was jailed, and 330 news were blocked in March.