2 Journalists Sentenced to Jail after Covering Demonstration

Dicle News Agency reporter Yıldız and Güneydoğu Ekspress reporter Dayan were each sentenced to almost eight years in prison together with another 23 defendants who attended a demonstration in 2008. Both journalists said they followed the event for professional reasons.

Prison terms of more than 204 years in total was the verdict for 25 defendants who attended a demonstration in 2008. Journalist  Vedat Yılıdız from the Dicle News Agency (DİHA) and Güneydoğu Ekspres (‘South-east Express’) newspaper reporter Lokman Dayan are among the convicts. They had followed the protest march for professional reasons and were then beaten by the police forces.

The demonstration in İdil (south-eastern province of Şırnak) on 21 October 2008 was related to violence allegedly inflicted on Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the armed outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). As reported on Friday, defence lawyer Veysel Vesek requested the acquittal of his clients at the last hearing that was not attended by the defendants.

The Diyarbakır 4th High Criminal Court handed down prison sentences of seven years and eleven months each to 25 out of 26 defendants, including journalists Yıldız and Dayan who were at the place of the protest march in order to report about it. Both journalists were involved in a conflict with the police. They were beaten and taken into custody subsequently.

All 26 defendants stood trial on charges of “membership in an organization” and “opposing Law No. 2911 on Meetings and Demonstrations”; 25 of them were senteced to six years and one month in jail accordingly.

The jouranlists and and another six defendants were furthermore sentenced to imprisonment of ten months each on charges of “spreading propaganda for an illegal organization”.

Appeal

Lawyer Vesek announced to file an appeal against the decision.

It was said that DİHA reporter Yıldız was injured in the course of a heavy police attack. After having been taken into custody, he was released by prosecution the same day.

Yılıdız suffered from bruises and swellings. He filed a complaint against the police forces because he was attacked while fulfilling his duty. (EÇ/EÖ/VK)

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