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Another "Azadiya Welat" journalist given prison sentence

(BIANET/IFEX) - Journalist Deniz Kilic was arrested on 5 April 2011 over comments he made to the Kurdish television channel Roj TV regarding the campaign "Ocalan is my political power". Kilic is a correspondent for the Kurdish daily "Azadiya Welat" in Batman (southeast Anatolia). The campaign referred to Abdullah Ocalan, imprisoned leader of the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Kilic had previously been arrested and detained for ten months before being released pending trial. The Diyarbakir 4th High Criminal Court has now sentenced him to two years and one month in jail, though it is expected that he will only serve eight months now, according to Turkish Criminal Enforcement Law, which allows for a mitigation of punishment on the condition of good conduct.

The Batman Mesopotamia Association of Journalists and Publishers has condemned the conviction. "The decision given in Kilic's case is a blow to press freedom and aims to intimidate journalists," the association criticized.

A spokesman for the association, Kemal Celik, released a statement on behalf of the group. He recalled Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's earlier remarks that "in Turkey, nobody is behind bars because of his/her journalistic activities." Celik stressed that Kilic was arrested on 5 April "only because of his journalistic activities" and demanded his release.

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