Journalist Coşkun sentenced to 2 years 3 months imprisonment

19 July 2018

Journalist Canan Coşkun who was being tried for a news story she reported received a 2 years 3 months jail sentence on the grounds that she committed the crime "revealing and spreading the identities of personnel working in counterterrorism work".

Cumhuriyet daily newspaper reporter Canan Coşkun, made a news story that included the defense statements of the lawyers who were taken into custody regarding an investigation that was conducted against DHKP-C. This news story of Coşkun, was sued on the grounds that it pointed public personnel who were active in counterterrorism work, as a target. The summary judgement of Coşkun’s case was held at İstanbul 26 Criminal Court. Coşkun and her attorneys were present in the hearing.

The hearing began with Coşkun’s defense against the opinion of the prosecutor. She remarked that she has been a justice reporter for Cumhuriyet daily newspaper since 2013 and added: "I follow the investigations, cases conducted by the Office of the Chief Prosecutor in İstanbul Courthouse. Therefore my news stories cover attorneys, courts, judges, prosecutors, defendants, suspects, witnesses… The prosecutor claims that even though the investigation was interdicted, my news story put the aim of the investigation at risk. After I heard the prosecutor’s opinion, I scanned my news archive in order to see who testified as a witness and said what as part of investigations regarding the public. One of these news stories was the murder of the Chief Editor of Agos daily newspaper, Hrant Dink. There were constraints over the case at the investigation level. That was when Erhan Tuncel, the instigator of the crime, and his hitman Ogün Samast testified. Their statements qualified as news, if I thought about the interdiction over the case I wouldn’t be able to do my job. I was not the only one doing it. Almost all of the mainstream media outlets published this breaking news. Therefore the prosecutor’s opinion is not only deficient, it is also false. This is not my first time writing a story about an interdicted case. Non of these stories put the aim of the investigation at risk. I will continue doing my job because I believe this to be a necessity for the memory of society."


Coşkun drew attention to the fact that she had not used a photograph of Berk Ercan, or mention a single word about his family in the story. She stated: "The prosecutor claims that Berk Ercan was benefiting from the effective remorse law, and contributing to the uncovering of the actions of the organization. The prosecution interrogation, which was the basis of my news story, does not include any information over this issue, it is not possible for me to know something that does not exist there. In short, I have written many news stories about interdicted investigations in the past. None of them were subject to legal action. I have not committed a crime, therefore I demand my acquittal."

Prosecutor Edip Şahiner Coşkun who had prepared the bill of indictment claimed that the defendant committed the crime of "putting the aim of the investigation at risk through reporting the story, revealing Berk Ercan’s and his family’s identity, pointing them as targets to terrorist organizations".

Coşkun and her lawyers demanded her acquittal, however the court board made its decision and sentenced her to 2 years 3 months jail time. The court did not abate the sentence.

Yasin Kobulan, İstanbul