Journalist Seda Taşkın was sentenced to 7 years and 6 months prison

10 October 2018

Berzan Güneş, Muş - Mesopotamia News Agency (MA) reporter Seda Taşkın was sentenced to 7 years and 6 months in prison on 'terror' charges.

The final hearing of journalist Seda Taşkın was held at Muş 2. High Criminal Court. The hearing was monitored by Free Journalists Initiative spokesperson Hakkı Boltan, People's Democratic Party (HDP) Muş MP Şevin Coşkun and Taşkın's journalist friends. Taşkın's lawyers were present in the courtroom whereas she joined the hearing via the judicial conferencing system, SEGBİS.

Taşkın was reminded of the prosecutor's final opinion which was submitted during the last hearing after identity checks. Taşkın submitted her final defense statement and noted that she was born and raised in Ankara, where she first started working as a journalist, “I have been working as a journalist for 3 years. I have traveled to many cities for my job, I went to Muş, Bitlis, and Van. I reported an old man's story who worked as an iron smith. I went to Varto, there I reported on a local institution's research on children's pedagogy. I reported an old woman's story who was a sculptor. I reported on cultural stories and none of these were added to my case file.”

Seda Taşkın: I was subjected to both physical and psychological torture

Taşkın had reported the story of Sise Bingöl, an 80-year-old woman who is now imprisoned. Her visit to Bingöl's house was also presented as evidence against her in the indictment. Taşkın noted, “The arrest of Sise Bingöl raised grave public attention. I wanted to report on her arrest as a journalist. I met with her daughter. Of course, I was not able to publish the story, I was called to the Police Department to sign a certain document where I was taken into custody. It was my first time in police custody. I was forced to take my clothes off at the Anti-Terror Department. I resisted to the naked body search, then I was threatened. I was subjected to both physical and psychological torture.”

Taşkın also noted that the indictment claimed her name to be a code name, “I have been called Seda since I was born. That is the name that my parents and friends know me by. It is not a code name.”

'I am a journalist'

Taşkın stated that she posted news articles from Dicle News Agency (DİHA) on her social media account without making any comments, “Those news articles were not published with my signature, now they are being presented as evidence against me. The indictment considers working for DİHA as evidence of crime. It was an official and legal news agency whilst I was working there.”

Defense lawyers presented various decisions of the Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights on press freedom and requested the release and acquittal of Taşkın.

Taşkın was sentenced to a total of 7 years and 6 months prison

The court recessed for 10 minutes before making its final decision. After the break, the court sentenced Taşkın to 3 years and 4 months in prison for “terrorist propaganda” and 4 years and 2 months for “aiding and abetting a terrorist organization without being a member”.