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"Azadiya Welat" newspaper suspended over alleged PKK support; newspaper distributor sentenced

(BIANET/IFEX) - 14 June 2011 - "Azadiya Welat", the only nation-wide newspaper in Turkey publishing in Kurdish, has been banned for a duration of 15 days.

The daily first began publishing on 15 August 2006. This is the ninth publication ban for the daily.

On 13 June 2011, police raided the daily's printing house in Diyarbakir, a city in the predominantly Kurdish region of southeastern Turkey. By the afternoon, the printing of the newspaper had stopped. Nine "Azadiya Welat" employees have been imprisoned.

According to the Firat News Agency (ANF), the Special Authority 12th High Criminal Court of Istanbul ordered the seizure of all copies of the 12 June edition of the paper and a 15-day suspension of publication, following a request by the Istanbul Public Prosecution.

The decision was based on two news items which appeared in the 12 June edition and which allegedly conveyed the opinions of Murat Karayilan, Chair of the Union of Kurdistan Communities (KCK), the umbrella organization that includes the armed wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The court decision also cited an item entitled "Brotherhood" which disclosed the code names of deceased PKK members, sparking charges of "spreading propaganda for an illegal organization".

In a separate case, Adem Karahan, a distributor of "Azadiya Welat" in Agirli, has been sentenced to two years' imprisonment on charges of "spreading propaganda for an illegal organization".

The sentence stems from remarks made in support of imprisoned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan that were posted on a Facebook account registered in Karahan's name.

Karahan denies that the account belongs to him.

Click here to read BIANET's interview with Adem Karahan

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