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Journalists acquitted of charges related to online content

(BIANET/IFEX) - On 7 July 2010, the Ankara 17th Criminal Court of First Instance acquitted Firat News Agency (ANF) and "Yeni Özgür Politika" (New free politics) newspaper reporter Ali Baris Kurt and Mehmet Nuri Kokcuoglu. Both journalists were facing imprisonment on the grounds of several news articles.

Kurt and Kokcuoglu were on trial since 10 March on charges of "praising crime and a criminal", "inciting hatred and hostility amongst the public" and "alienating the public from military service via the media" because of news items published on the internet site GunesinCocuklari.com (Children of the Sun).

The acquittal decided on at the 7 July hearing referred to the journalists' advocacy for the right to conscientious objection and the fact that they had called the people who killed 12-year-old Ugur Kaymaz in a military operation "murderers".

Both journalists were tried under articles 318, 215 and 216 of the Turkish Criminal Law (TCK) following a complaint filed by the General Staff Presidency. Kurt was represented by his lawyer, Senem Doganoglu, in the latest hearing.

In a statement made after the hearing, Kurt said that the trial "stemmed from not recognizing the right to conscientious objection and from forcing people in Turkey to be interested in warfare."

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