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Kurdish journalist released following judicial reform in Turkey

(BIANET/IFEX) - A court in the southeastern Turkish province of Diyarbakir ruled to release Ozan Kilinc, the former editor-in-chief of the Kurdish daily Azadiya Welat, in compliance with new amendments that came into effect following the ratification of the Third Judicial Reform package by parliament and President Abdullah Gul on 2 July 2012. "I will resume [working as a] journalist from where I left off in spite of all the hardships and repression," Kilinc told BIANET after his release.

There are, however, still about half a dozen other suits filed against Kilinc pending before the Supreme Court of Appeals. The prosecution has requested varying sentences for Kilinc in these trials, ranging from one to seven years in prison, but all of them pertain to the same charge of "making propaganda for a terrorist organization."

Kilinc said he never abandoned journalism while serving time behind bars at a prison in the southeastern province of Bingol. "I was constantly writing in prison. I was writing news stories about ongoing problems at the prison and about the cases of other friends standing trial, and I was sending them to my paper. We were still trying to keep up this struggle even though we were [locked up behind bars]," he said. "I will resume covering the news from where I left off to show that the free press cannot be silenced," Kilinc added.

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