Çetin Kurşun, an employee of the Azadiya Welat newspaper shuttered by a decree law, was taken into custody on February 6, 2018, in a police raid to his family home in Kızıltepe, along with his brother S.K. His computer was seized as well.
After 13 days in custody, Kurşun gave a statement to the prosecutor and was referred to the court. The court released S.K. on condition of judicial control and ordered the arrest of Çetin Kurşun on charges of “committing a crime for the terrorist organization without being its member.” Kurşun was placed in Mardin E-Type Closed Prison on February 19, 2018.
The prosecutor completed the investigation and drafted an indictment on December 11, 2018.
The indictment stated that the investigation was launched upon a written statement sent by İzmir Police Department to Mardin Police Department on January 18, 2018 indicating that the web site “ciwannews” could be linked to PKK. It was found out that the said website was registered with a phone number that belonged to Çetin Kurşun, being used by Kurşun’s brother.
The indictment consisted almost entirely of news stories and content published on the website “ciwannews.”” Among these there were news stories dated February 7, 2018, a date when Kurşun was in custody. The indictment presented as evidence two copies of Azadiya Welat newspaper found in Kurşun’s home, a press ID for Azadiya Welat, a hard disc, a mobile phone and a drinking glass featuring the logo of the Solidarity Association of Prisoners’ Families (TUHAD-FED). It was indicated that the indictment was drafted before the criminal reports for the digital materials reached the prosecutor’s office.
In the indictment, the prosecutor requested that Çetin Kurşun and his brother be sentenced for “membership of an armed terrorist organization” as per Turkish Penal Code, Article 314/2.
The first trial of the proceedings took place on February 7, 2019, nearly one year later. In the third hearing on May 30, 2019, the court sentenced Çetin Kurşun to three years in prison for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization involving coercion, violence and threats,” but released him in consideration of the time he spent in jail.
Press in Arrest is a database, monitoring, documentation and collective memory study of Press Research Association.
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