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Journalists Gokcer Tahincioglu and Kemal Goktas face up to three years in prison for "acquiring classified information"

(BIANET/IFEX) - Two journalists, the daily "Milliyet"'s Gokcer Tahincioglu and "Vatan" newspaper's Kemal Goktas, are on trial for allegations related to articles revealing the unlawful authorization of security forces, police, the gendarmerie and the national intelligence service to monitor all electronic communication between citizens.

Tahincioglu and Goktas are accused of "acquiring classified information" and "rendering public officers working in counter terrorism as targets". The two journalists face up to three years in prison if convicted.

Tahincioglu testified in court and reminded the judges that news of the court's authorization of the security measures was already outdated when their news articles appeared.

"The Ministry of Justice has approved this fact. Court orders can't be classified and general surveillance authorizations are a violation of fundamental human rights. The Supreme Court of Appeals and the Minister of Justice himself declared those points," Tahincioglu said.

The court postponed the case to 31 March 2009 and allowed the prosecution to prepare its judgment.

Following publication of the articles in June 2008, laws concerning electronic surveillance by security forces have been amended and more strict guidelines have been introduced.

Goktas and Tahincioglu were awarded the Freedom of Press Award for their articles by the Turkish Association of Journalists.

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