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Editor sentenced to six months in prison, faces another trial

(BIANET/IFEX) - Journalist Erdal Güler, owner and editor-in-chief of the "Revolutionary Democracy" ("Devrimci Demokrasi") newspaper, was sentenced to a six-month prison term on 3 February 2010. Güler had just been released from prison in October 2010 due to an incorrect notification after he had been jailed for three years, accused of praising the armed outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the clandestine Maoist Communist Party (MKP) in his publications.

The Istanbul 10th High Criminal Court convicted Güler of "making propaganda" for the MKP under Article 7 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMY) based on the newspaper's Issue No. 37, published in March 2004. The court initially ruled for a one-year prison sentence and a monetary fine of TL 440 (approx. €200). Güler's sentence was then changed to six months and a TL 366 (approx. €170) fine. The journalist's lawyer, Ümit Sisligün, told BIANET that the sentence has not been finalised and that they are going to file an appeal.

According to the indictment, Güler "identified people as a target for terrorist organisations" in an article entitled, "Expert on massacre and isolation receives medal". In the article, the journalist criticised the fact that Ali Suat Ertosun, former Prisons and Arrests Stations general director, was awarded with the "Medal for Excellent State Service" by Justice Minister Cemil Cicek.

Ertosun was Prisons and Arrest Stations general director in 2000 when the police violently ended the "death fasts" of hundreds of political prisoners, called the "return to life" operation. The prisoners were protesting against a transfer from large wards to F-type cells with only three or four prisoners.

The charges also stem from a number of other articles.

Also on 3 February, the same court held a session on another case against Güler, in which he also stands accused of "spreading propaganda for an illegal organisation". The court allowed additional time for Güler to prepare his defence and decided to adjourn the case to 19 April.

In 2007, the Istanbul 10th High Criminal Court convicted Güler under Article 7/2 of the TMY and handed down a monetary fine of TL 20,000 (approx. €9,300). However, the notification was sent to the wrong address. Lawyer Meral Hanbayat appealed the decision and the court decided to stop the application of the sentence.

Güler was released from the Kandira No. 1 F-Type Prison on 26 October 2010. He had been imprisoned since his arrest in 2007.

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