Hasan Cemal receives judicial fine for his column on Silvan

7 May 2019

İstanbul -  The court announced its verdict in the trial where journalist Hasan Cemal faced “terrorist propaganda” charges for a column he wrote in 2015. The court sentenced Cemal to 3 months and 22 days in prison and converted the sentence to a judicial fine of 3600 Turkish Liras.

Third hearing of the trial where journalist Hasan Cemal faces “terrorist propaganda” charges resumed at İstanbul 36th High Criminal Court today. Cemal faces this allegation for a column he wrote for T24 website on 4 December 2015  titled “From Silvan: They’ve accustomed us to sorrow and death...” Hasan Cemal and his lawyer Fikret İlkiz were present in the courtroom. Reporters Without Borders Turkey representative Erol Önderoğlu, International Press Institute (IPI) Turkey Advocacy Coordinator Caroline Stockford, journalists and academics were among those who attended the hearing.

Following the prosecutor’s final opinion, journalist Hasan Cemal presented his final defense: “Turkey is going through a huge downfall in regarding democracy and the rule of law. Me being tried for ‘terrorist propaganda’ as a 75-year-old man who has been practicing journalism for 50 years is an indicator of this downfall. Throughout my career, I have never been a propagandist, I’ve always defended peace. I’ve wrote many articles about the Kurdish issue. All of them demand peace. The mentality that demands to put me in prison for terrorist propaganda has nothing to do with law or freedom.”

Following a brief deliberation, the court announced its verdict. The court sentenced Hasan Cemal to 1 year and 6 months in prison for “making propaganda for a terrorist organization.” The court stated that İstanbul 22nd High Criminal Court had already sentenced Hasan Cemal to 1 year and 3 months in prison for the same crime, and that these two files should have been merged. However, since that sentence has already been approved, the court decided to appropriate its sentence and reduced Cemal’s sentence to 3 months and 22 days. The court then decided to convert the sentence into a judicial fine of 3600 Turkish Liras.