Lezgin Akdeniz - “Membership of an Armed Terrorist Organization” and “Propaganda of Terrorist Organization Through Media” Trial

Mesopotamia Agency reporter Lezgin Akdeniz was among the 142 people detained in Diyarbakır on Oct. 9, 2018, within the scope of an investigation conducted by the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. Drafted an indictment against Akdeniz, who was held in custody for three days. The indictment was accepted by Diyarbakır’s 9th High Criminal Court on Jan. 18, 2019.

The indictment claimed that Akdeniz “was a member of the terrorist organization” based solely on the statements of a secret witness codenamed “Ezel” and accused him of “spreading continuous propaganda for the terrorist organization” due to him ‘liking’ a news story on Facebook concerning the liberation of the city of Raqqa from ISIS. The prosecutor requested a total sentence of 22 years in jail.

The investigation was centered on the KCK [Kurdistan Communities Union, an umbrella organisation encompassing separatist Kurdish political movements], and in the indictment, the charges pressed against Akdeniz took up a quarter of a page. The indictment featured the statement by the secret witness Ezel, who claimed that Akdeniz had received instructions from Murat Karayılan and Cemil Bayık, two members of the top echelons of the KCK, and communicated them to members of the organization.

The indictment also included another statement by the secret witness claiming that Akdeniz had met with members of the organization in Iraq, via Skype. In the indictment, in reference to these secret witness statements, the prosecutor requested a prison sentence of ten to 22 years for Akdeniz, based on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization.” The first hearing of the trial was held on March 27, 2019.

A verdict was reached at the first hearing. Akdeniz was acquitted of the charge of “membership of a terrorist organization” and sentenced to one year and three months in prison for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization.” The court also ordered the deferment of the announcement of the verdict.

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