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Journalist jailed after attending symposium organised by outlawed political party

(BIANET/IFEX) - Dicle News Agency (DİHA) reporter Ibrahim Acikyer was sentenced to 10 months behind bars on charges of "spreading propaganda for the PKK organization", the outlawed armed Kurdistan Workers Party, under article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMY).

Acikyer and 13 other defendants were taken into police custody when they were attending a symposium organized by the Konak District Youth Parliament of the banned pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) on 27 July 2006 in Izmir. At the hearing on 25 November 2010, all 14 defendants were convicted by the Izmir 10th High Criminal Court.

The court did not accept the defence speech given by Acikyer's lawyers, who put forward that their client attended the symposium as a journalist and followed the event for professional reasons. In the final hearing of the trial, his lawyers requested that Acikyer be acquitted. However, the court ruled for a prison sentence of 10 months.

Mazlum Tekdag, a former DTP member of parliament, and several other defendants each received prison sentences of one year and six months. The defence lawyers are preparing an appeal since the trial and the convictions were based exclusively on police records.

On 22 November, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) issued an announcement drawing attention to an increase in investigations and trials under the Turkish Anti-Terror Law.

RSF called for the release of journalists Nese Duzel, Adnan Demir, Ismail Besikci, Zeycan Balci Simsek, Irfan Aktan and Merve Erol. The Paris-based organization said, "Reporters Without Borders deplores Turkey's abuse of its anti-terrorism law to censor and punish journalists who raise the issue of its Kurdish minority or quote certain Kurdish leaders."

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