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Newspaper distributor sentenced to 10 months in prison

(BIANET/IFEX) - "Azadiya Welat" newspaper distributor Mehmet Altay has been found guilty of "making propaganda for an organisation". The court ruled against Altay based on the publication of a picture in an issue of "Azadiya Welat" showing imprisoned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan holding a copy of the daily in both hands above his head. Defendant Fehime Ete was also convicted because he unfolded pieces of cloth with the PKK's emblem at the opening ceremony for an election office.

On 22 October, the Diyarbakir 6th High Criminal Court handed down a 10-month prison sentence against Altay, who was found guilty on the grounds of selling the newspaper, which is published in Kurdish in the city of Siirt, in the predominantly Kurdish region of eastern Turkey. The decision was based on article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMY).

Ete, who was prosecuted along with Altay, was given the same sentence for unfolding pieces of cloth with the PKK's emblem in the opening ceremony for an election office prior to local elections on 29 May. Though they were free at the time, the defendants did not attend the hearing. They were represented by their lawyer Sakir Demir.

The prosecutor stated that Altay was among a group of people shouting slogans in favour of Ocalan during the opening ceremony of the election office and said that "the commitment of an offence was determined with the photograph of Abdullah Ocalan holding the 'Azadiya Welat' newspaper above his head with both hands."

Demir was unable to sway the court with his defence that his clients did not act with criminal intent and that a crime was not committed. Both defendants were sentenced to 10 months in prison.

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