The Istanbul 15th High Criminal Court sentenced Reyhan Çapan, the editor-in-chief and publisher of the daily Özgür Gündem, to one year and three months in prison on terrorism related charges solely due to a headline that appeared on the newspaper.
The headline entitled "Revolt Speaks" ("Söz Serhıldanın") which appeared on Özgür Gündem's March 21st issue, amounts to making terrorist propaganda, according to the court.
"The government which is trying to muffle our voice through every means is not letting up on its repression and punishment," the newspaper said in its response to the verdict.
Özgür Gündem also stressed the fact that the passing of the sentence coincided with the publication of the 2012 press freedom report of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ.)
The government is still pushing on with its operations to oppress the Kurdish press and cow it into submission," they said.
Istanbul Chief Prosecutor Muammer Akkaş launched the initial probe on May 7 after he decided that the titles "Revolt Speaks" ("Söz Serhıldanın,") "Ceaseless Action Until Freedom" ("Özgürlüğe Kadar Kesintisiz Eylem") and "The Kurds' Amed and Istanbul Newroz" ("Kürtlerin Amed ve Istanbul Newrozu") were in praise of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK.)
Çapan consequently received a prison sentence of one year during the second hearing of the trial. The court then raised his sentence to one year and six months on the grounds that the crime had been committed through the press but again reduced it down to one year and three months due to the fact that Çapan had no prior criminal record.
The court delegation also ruled against suspending Çapan's sentence because "he showed no penitence, and our court [does not fully believe that] the suspect will refrain from committing a crime again." (EKN)
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