Mehmet Ali Genç - “Propaganda of Terrorist Organization” and “Publishing the Terrorist Organization Statement” Trial

Various investigations were launched against Mehmet Ali Genç because of the news stories in the newspaper Atılım where he served as managing editor.

All investigations were carried out on charges of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”, citing the stories published in two issues of the newspaper in April and May 2016. Three separate indictments were drafted about Genç, and these were completed and submitted to the court on September 22, 2016.

The first indictment prepared by prosecutor consisted of a single page. It stated that the article titled “Making way for freedom” published in the issue of April 29, 2016 contained “propaganda for a terrorist organization”. However, the content of the article was not included in the indictment.

Prosecutor also stated that the “defendant’s claim that the articles fell within the limits of the freedom of press and thought are not credible.”

The prosecutor demanded a prison sentence of 1 to 5 years for Genç for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” pursuant to Anti-Terror Law, Article 7/2, as well as deprivation of certain rights as per Turkish Penal Code, Article 53.

Prepared on the same date as the first indictment (September 22, 2016), it also consisted of a single page. This second indictment was based on three separate news stories published on May 13, 2016. While the content of the stories was not included in the indictment, the headings were written down: “MLKP militia on patrol in Gazi district”, “Funeral for two TİKKD guerillas”, “HBDH claimed the bomb attack against the bakery shop whose owners killed Ali İsmail.”

Prosecutor, claimed that these stories were tantamount to “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” and requested that Genç be sentenced. The prosecutor demanded a prison sentence of 1 to 5 years for Genç for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization” pursuant to Anti-Terror Law, Article 7/2, and asked it to be increased by half since the crime was committed via the media. he also requested that Genç be deprivation of certain rights.

The third indictment against Genç was drafted at the end of the investigation against the Özgür Gençlik Dergisi magazine, since he was its managing editor as well. This indictment consisted of two pages, and like the two other indictments, was completed on September 22, 2016 and submitted to the court.

The indictment based its accusations on ten separate articles in the March - April issue of the magazine: “In memory of two communist women”, “Your identity is ours”, “Portrait: Şengül Boran”, “Suhan’s early farewell”, “Women’s revolution”, “We shall multiply amidst the butterflies you adored so much”, “Rainbow after the rain: Ivana Hoffman”, “Kurdish women continue to resist”, “Colonialism will e trampled, oppressed peoples will prevail” and “From Cerattepe to Cizre, we continue to raise the resistance”.

Prosecutor, based himself on these articles and associated images to claim that these “spread propaganda for a terrorist organization” pursuant to Anti-Terror Law, Article 7/2. He requested a sentence of 1 to 5 years in prison and deprivation of certain rights for Genç.

The three indictments prepared by prosecutor, were accepted by Istanbul 22. High Criminal Court and a lawsuit was filed. The hearings were held on November 17, 2016 for the three.

In his defense, Genç stated in summary that they did not engage in propaganda for any organization, and that the articles should be viewed within the scope of the freedom of press and expression.

Prosecutor, demanded that Genç be punished as charged in his separate judicial opinions for the three cases.

As regards the first indictment, Genç was sentenced to one year in prison for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”. This was increased by half since the crime was committed through the press, to 1 year, 6 months. Then his sentence was reduced for good conduct to 1 year, 3 months.

Under the scope of the second indictment, he was sentenced to 1 year, 6 years of imprisonment. This was increased by half since the crime was committed through the press, to 1 year, 15 months. Then his sentence was reduced for good conduct to 1 year, 10 months, 15 days.

Under the scope of the third case, the court ruled for a prison sentence of 1 year, 3 months for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization”.

Genç was sentenced to a total of 4 years, 4 months, 15 days in three separate cases on the same day.

The appeal process against the verdict was rejected and the prison sentence was upheld.

Genç is serving time at Adana F-Type High Security Closed Prison.

Press in Arrest is a database, monitoring, documentation and collective memory study of Press Research Association.
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