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Editor of women's magazine detained since March, faces three-year sentence

(BIANET/IFEX) - On 10 June 2010, the Diyarbakir 5th High Criminal Court dismissed a request for the release of Gurbet Çakar, editorial manager of the "Rengê Hevîya Jinê" women's magazine. Çakar was detained in March on charges of "making propaganda for the PKK via the media". The PKK is the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party.

"Rengê Hevîya Jinê" is the only women's magazine in Turkey published in Kurdish and Turkish. Çakar was detained by the Diyarbakir Public Prosecutor, after being summoned to give a statement. She is currently imprisoned in the Diyarbakir E Type Prison.

Çakar's lawyer, Servet Özen, told BIANET that a total of five cases have been filed against the magazine. According to Özen, local courts in Diyarbakir called for a sentence of three years and nine months in total in three of the cases.

Özen explained that the cases were filed after the magazine referred to imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan as the "leader of the Kurdish people" and photographs of Öcalan and PKK militants were published in the magazine.

Özen is planning to appeal the courts' decisions. She stated that her client Çakar is furthermore facing charges of "membership of an illegal organization and committing a crime on behalf of the organization". The case related to her detention will be continued on 1 July.

The lawyer said that another trial under article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law was scheduled to continue on 17 June.

Çakar and a number of other detainees applied to the Human Rights Foundation (IHD), Diyarbakir Branch, recently since they were being harassed by soldiers.


"Rengê Hevîya Jinê" began circulating in November 2007. The periodical's first editorial manager, Sultan Sonsuz, was sentenced to one year and three months in prison in connection with one out of five cases launched related to "propaganda". Sonsuz is facing a prison sentence of between four years and nine months and 20 years in total in the remaining four cases. Her successor, Ruken Aktas, is facing up to three years and nine months in prison. After the Court of Appeals heard three of the cases, one complaint against Aktas was dropped.

The Diyarbakir 6th High Criminal Court also handed down a prison sentence of one year and three monhts to Aktas' successor, Sibel Esmer. Esmer appealed the decision.

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