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Journalist, two editors, fined for publishing interview with Kurdish militant

(BIANET/IFEX) - The Istanbul 10th Penal Court has sentenced "Hürriyet" newspaper journalist Sebati Karakurt to an advance payment of 455 YTL (approx. US$350). Karakurt is being tried for an interview he conducted with Kurdish Kongra-Gel militants on Kandil Mountain in Northern Iraq. He faces a possible prison sentence.

Hasan Kilic and Necdet Tatlican, editors at the newspaper, have been ordered by the court to pay fines amounting to 60,000 YTL (approx. US$47,000), for "publishing statements of a terrorist organisation" and "spreading the propaganda of a terrorist organisation" by including the interview in the newspaper. Should they not pay their fines, their trials will continue on 13 November 2007.

Karakurt had interviewed militant leader Murat Karayilan and had written about changes in the lives of militants living on the mountain.

The interview was published in "Hürriyet" newspaper on 10 October 2004, under the title: "In Kandil, feminism has gone beyond Kurdish nationalism". At first, Karakurt and Kilic were accused of publishing terrorist statements. Subsequently, Kilic and Tatlican faced the additional charge of spreading terrorist propaganda.

In a separate case, "Milliyet" journalist Namik Durukan was acquitted on 10 May 2007 of any crime related to an article he wrote on former Kurdish leader Osman Öcalan and the fact that his life had changed since he had left the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The article was published on 29 April 2005 under the title "Osman rocks the cradle" and "The PKK should retreat".

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