A Turkish court has handed multiple jail terms for editors and journalists from the now-defunct pro-Kurd daily Ozgur Gundem on charges of spreading “terrorist propaganda”.
Seven people, including the newspaper’s editors-in-chief Eren Keskin and Huseyin Aykol, were given sentences ranging from 15 to 45 months in prison, the paper said on its Twitter account.
A total of 24 people from the newspaper appeared for Tuesday’s hearing, but only seven were convicted of “disseminating terrorist propaganda,” according to the P24 press freedom website.
The newspaper was accused of running propaganda in favor of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.
It was permanently shut in August 2016 following an attempted coup by opponents of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“I don’t believe I have committed a crime. I don’t believe the expression of thought is a crime. I request my acquittal,” Keskin told the court.
At least 146 journalists are currently imprisoned in Turkey, according to P24, most detained under the state of emergency imposed after the attempted coup.
Turkey is ranked 157th in the world for press freedom by Reporters Without Borders, which says the government has increasingly seized control of media outlets and is the world’s biggest jailer of professional journalists.