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Turkish journalist receives jail term over headline

(BIANET/IFEX) - A court in Istanbul sentenced journalist Reyhan Capan, the editor-in-chief and publisher of the daily Ozgur Gundem, to one year and three months in prison for a single headline that appeared in the paper. The Istanbul 15th High Criminal Court sentenced Capan on terrorism related charges.

The headline entitled "Revolt Speaks" ("Soz Serhildanin") which appeared on Ozgur Gundem's 21 March issue, amounts to making terrorist propaganda, according to the court.

"The government, which is trying to muffle our voice through every means, is not letting up on its repression and punishment," the newspaper said in its response to the verdict. Ozgur Gundem also stressed the fact that the passing of the sentence coincided with the publication of the Committee to Protect Journalists's 2012 press freedom report. "The government is still pushing on with its operations to oppress the Kurdish press and cow it into submission,” they said.

Istanbul Chief Prosecutor Muammer Akkas launched the initial probe on 7 May after he decided that the titles "Revolt Speaks" ("Soz Serhildanin"), "Ceaseless Action Until Freedom" ("Ozgurluge Kadar Kesintisiz Eylem") and "The Kurds' Amed and Istanbul Newroz" ("Kurtlerin Amed ve Istanbul Newrozu") were in praise of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK).

Capan consequently received a prison sentence of one year during the second hearing of the trial. The court then raised his sentence to one year and six months on the grounds that the crime had been committed through the press but again reduced it down to one year and three months due to the fact that Capan had no prior criminal record.

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