Journalist Cansu Pişkin sentenced to 10 months in prison

7 May 2019

Former Evrensel reporter Cansu Pişkin is sentenced to 10 years in prison for her news report titled “Special Prosecutor for Boğaziçi Students,” court deferred the sentence

İstanbul - Third and final hearing of the trial where journalist Cansu Pişkin faces “disclosing or publishing the identity of a public official on anti-terrorist duty” and “identifying such persons as a target” charges was held at İstanbul 36th High Crimianl Court today.

In addition to MLSA, Reporters without Borders (RSF) Turkey representative Erol Önderoğlu, International Press Institute (IPI) Turkey Advocacy Coordinator Caroline Stockford, Nazım Dikbaş and Can Candan from the Academics for Peace initiative, and representatives from Article 19 and Turkey Journalists’ Syndicate (TGS) monitored the hearing.

Pişkin’s lawyers Levent Pişkin and Mustafa Söğütlü presented their final defense statement, arguing that prosecutors are not “public officials” per law, that this is terminology aims to protect the judiciary’s impartiality.

Stating that there is no criminal intent, the lawyers argued that the prosecutor mentioned in the relevant news report which was published in Evrensel on 5 April 2018 is appointed to many high-profile cases that concerns the public; hence, he has frequently been reported on and is well-known by the public.

Lawyer Pişkin said, “When Takvim or Sabah writes about it, you do not consider that to be identifying him as a target. Is it only a threat when Evrensel’s Cansu Pişkin writes it?”

The lawyers reminded the court that the European Court of Human Rights found Turkey guilty of violating the right to freedom of expression in Sürek v. Turkey, adding that Pişkin has not committed a crime by writing this news report.

When asked for her final words, Cansu Pişkin said, “Journalism is not a crime.”

Following a short deliberation, the court announced its verdict. The court sentenced Pişkin to 1 year and 2 months in prison, then reduced it to 10 months. The court decided to defer the sentence.