ISTANBUL (Today’s Zaman)—The Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office is seeking at least 7.5 years in prison for 18 journalists from nine newspapers for publishing a photo of a Turkish prosecutor taken hostage and held at gunpoint.
The journalists, including Cumhuriyet’s editor-in-chief Can Dundar, are accused of “spreading terrorist propaganda” for publishing the photo of slain prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz, who was killed during a shootout between police and the kidnappers.
Kiraz was taken hostage in his office at Istanbul Courthouse in March by two militants from the terrorist group the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C). Kiraz and his captors were killed after police stormed his office to rescue him.
DHK/C militants claimed that Kiraz was taken hostage in the name of Berkin Elvan, a 15 year old boy who was killed when a tear gas canister shot by police struck him in the head during the Gezi Park protests that erupted in Istanbul two years ago.
In May, several journalists were summoned to the prosecutor’s office to testify as part of an investigation into the incident.
Turkey briefly shut down Twitter, YouTube and Facebook and threatened to ban access to Google to prevent the photo from spreading. Western media claims that Turkey is using the incident as an excuse to crack down on the social media and freedom of expression.