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Journalist convicted of "spreading propaganda", sentenced to jail

(BIANET/IFEX) - 27 January 2011 - Journalist Berivan Eker, former editor-in-chief of the Kurdish womens' magazine "Renge Heviya Jine" ('The colour of women's hope), received a prison sentence of two years and six months on charges of "spreading propaganda for an illegal organization".

BIANET spoke to Eker's lawyer, Meral Atasoy, about the decision given by the 6th High Criminal Court of Diyarbakir, a Kurdish-majority city in south-eastern Turkey. Atasoy said that Eker was handed down two separate sentences on the grounds of "organizational propaganda". She explained that the punishment was set at the lower limit due to Eker's good behaviour. Eker was both convicted and released from detention at the final hearing on 25 January 2011. She will have to go back to prison if the Court of Appeals upholds the decision.

Eker had been arrested in November 2010 when she was on her way to consult her lawyer about the upcoming trial. She was incarcerated in the Diyarbakir E Type Prison for two months. At the recent hearing, she did not accept the charges against her and requested acquittal.

Atasoy claimed that her client did not act with the intention to commit a criminal offence. She stated that the magazine had no connections to any "illegal organization" and that the articles on the subject did not contain any illegal elements.

The court's board decided to acquit Eker of charges of "committing a crime on behalf of an illegal organization without being a member of that organization". However, at the same time, the court ruled for a two-count sentence under allegations of "spreading propaganda for an illegal organization".

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