Nedim Türfent worked as journalist in the Yüksekova district of Hakkari in 2015-2016, under curfew. On May 12, 2016, he was detained in Van under the scope of an investigation conducted by Yüksekova Prosecutor’s Office.
Türfent was arrested on May 13, 2016 on charges of “membership of an armed terrorist organization,” with reference to some of his news stories, and secret witness statements. He was first transferred to Hakkari Prison, then to Van M-Type Prison and subsequently to Van T-Type Closed Prison.
The trial took place at Hakkari 2. High Criminal Court. A verdict was reached on December 15, 2017 in this trial, where the prosecutor requested a prison sentence of up to 23 months and 9 years. The prosecutor submitted his opinion as to the accusations at the hearing, requested the continuation of Türfent’s detention arguing that he could flee the country, and demanded that Türfent be sentenced for “membership of an armed terrorist organization”.
The court announced its verdict at the end of the hearing, sentencing Türfent to 7 years in prison for “membership of an armed terrorist organization” and then increasing this to 8 years, 9 months on the grounds that “his actions were continuous.“
The court’s detailed ruling stated that there was no evidence in the file that the witness statements were taken under “torture”. The document read, “The journalist did not cover certain events which would disturb any individual’s conscience, did not write a single word that could annoy the terrorist organization, and did not make a single negative remark about the terrorist organization.”
Türfent’s lawyers appealed against the verdict at the court of appeal. The court of appeal upheld the verdict. Thereupon an appeal was made to the Court of Cassation, on May 21, 2019, the 16. Criminal Chamber of the Court of Cassation upheld the prison sentence.
In addition, on July 3, 2018, an application was filed with the Constitutional Court with a request for urgent action and prioritization. The Constitutional Court has yet to discuss the case.
Türfent is currently held in Van T-Type Closed Prison.