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Columnist Veysi Sarisözen and managing director Ziya Çiçekçi charged with producing "terrorist propaganda"

(BIANET/IFEX) - "Günlük" daily columnist Veysi Sarisözen and managing director Ziya Çiçekçi will face trial on allegations of "propaganda of a terrorist organization" with regard to an article titled, "We don't do propaganda; the public does".

Prosecutor Hüseyin Ayar claimed that the article published on 6 February 2009, is a violation of Article 7/2 of the Counter Terrorism Law. If convicted, Sarisözen and Çiçekçi face up to seven and a half years in prison.

The first hearing of the case will be held on 19 June at Istanbul 12th High Criminal Court. This is the first case involving the newspaper, which has published only 65 editions so far.

In his article, Sarisözen wrote, "We define the PKK (Kurdish rebel group) differently from Prime Minister Erdogan. We say that, in the Penal Code, PKK's actions should be classified, similar to the ban on uprisings and armed organizations causing insurgence. Why would we make propaganda (for the PKK)? People do what they do. I never shouted or wrote 'Biji PKK' (Long live PKK). But I saw that in Diyarbakir, during the Newroz festivities, one million people made propaganda against the Counter Terror Law."

In the indictment, Ayar alleged that "the author makes propaganda by saying that the PKK is not regarded as a terrorist organization by the public and by himself; it's defined as an insurgent movement; that the people don't call terrorists those whom the PM calls terrorists . . . and the suspect managing director has participated in this crime by publishing the article."

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