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Turkey condemns Kurdish reporter to 90 months of jail

This article originally appeared in Kurdistan 24.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A Turkish court in the Kurdish city of Mus on Wednesday sentenced local reporter Seda Taskin to seven years and six months of imprisonment because of news stories she wrote which judiciary said were “terrorist propaganda.”

The sentencing came in two accounts, three years and four months for “propaganda” and four years and two months for “aiding a terror group without being a member.”

Police first arrested Taskin, who writes for the Kurdish news agency Mezopotamya, late last year in Mus (read: Mush) on the grounds “there was a serious notice about her,” which they received via an email to the website of the national General Directorate of Security.

She was released pending trial by a judge but a month later arrested again, this time in the Turkish capital of Ankara due to an objection by prosecutors who accused her of disseminating propaganda through her reports and on social media.

She has since been kept in a Turkish prison.

During the last hearing of the trial against Taskin, she was asked why she visited the home of a 78-year-old Kurdish woman, Sise Bingol, who the Turkish authorities put in jail for allegedly aiding fighters of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Taskin said she went to the Bingol family’s house where she met with the imprisoned senior woman’s daughter and grandchildren to report about her situation in prison where she suffers from diabetes, hypertension, and kidney diseases according to hospital records.

“I am a journalist,” she said, “there was a lot of attention to Bingol’s case,” according to Mezopotamya.

Her lawyers argue that they suspect the police officers who arrested her had sent the said email through an unnamed source.

“She is making terrorist propaganda by shooting video in our city,” read the email sent according to court documents at 4:40 p.m. local time on Dec. 20, 2017.

“Twenty minutes later, she was arrested at a cafe which means police were already keeping surveillance on her,” lawyer Gulan Cagin said during a previous hearing in April.

The judge refused the lawyer’s request to order a technical investigation into the IP address of the email police used as evidence and who it belonged to.

Another charge was her sharing of a microphone picture featuring now-closed Dicle (DIHA), another Kurdish news agency she used to work for.

Prosecutors said the picture along with her posts about this year’s Turkish invasion of the formerly self-ruling Afrin district in Syrian Kurdistan “was terrorist propaganda.”

Taskin said she has faced “physical and psychological torture,” during her detention as Turkish police officers strip-searched her in a humiliating manner.

Taskin’s sentencing came a day after a wave of arrests that saw 151 Kurdish people, among them politicians, activists, and six journalists, taken into custody Tuesday.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany

This article was originally published in Kurdistan 24.

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