Kurdish Journalist Charged With 525 years

DIYARBAKIR (Hurriyet)—Turkish Prosecutors are asking for a total of 525 years for the former editor in chief of the Kurdish daily Azadiya Welat on charges of disseminating the propaganda of a terrorist organization and for belonging to a terrorist organization.

A total of 105 charges were brought against former editor in chief Vedat Kursun for publishing propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organization.

Kursun had already been under arrest for the last eight months after being convicted of belonging to a terrorist organization.

Kursun appeared before the Diyarbakir Criminal Court on Friday. The court ruled to merge his previous case with the current one, raising Kursun’s charges to a total of 105 counts of publishing propaganda and one count of belonging to a terrorist organization.

During the proceedings, the prosecutors pointed out that although 32 different indictments were issued and 94 different counts were brought against Azadiya Welat, the daily has not stopped publishing propaganda on behalf of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is labeled a terrorist organization in Turkey. The prosecutor pointed out that the daily routinely refers to PKK’s jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan as a “Kurdish Public Leader.”

Last week, Ozan Kilinc, who assumed the role of editor in chief after Kursun, was sentenced to 21 years for publishing propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organization, belonging to a terrorist organization and for committing crimes on behalf of a terror organization.

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