Journalists in Turkey convicted of terrorism

People protest outside the headquarters of Bugun Newspaper and Kanalturk TV station in Istanbul during a rally against the Turkish government’s crackdown on media outlets. (AFP/File)
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Updated 30 December 2019

Journalists in Turkey convicted of terrorism

  • They were handed jail terms of 2 years or more
  • Turkey ranked second highest jailer of journalists globally

JEDDAH: Seven people from a Turkish newspaper including six journalists have been convicted of terror-related charges. An Istanbul court convicted the group from Sözcü newspaper on Friday, handing down prison terms of two years or more.
The charges relate to a failed coup attempt in 2016 to oust the Turkish government and remove President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Ankara blamed the coup attempt on Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish preacher who has lived in self-imposed exile in the US since 1999.
The seven individuals were convicted of helping the coup perpetrators through their reporting.
Columnists Emin Colasan and Necati Dogru were handed down sentences of three years and six months. The paper’s chief editor Metin Yilmaz and its online edition’s managing editor, Mustafa Cetin, were given three years. Online news editor Yucel Ari, financial manager Yonca Yucelan and journalist Gokmen Ulu were sentenced to two years each.
They will appeal the verdict and have denied the charges against them. Sözcü denounced the verdict as a “black stain.”
Turkey is ranked the second highest jailer of journalists in the world according to data from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
Currently 108 journalists are incarcerated in Turkey, where the media industry is either controlled directly by the government or by conglomerates which are dependent on government contracts and therefore back the state’s position.
“Turkey’s daily Sözcü is and always has been openly critical of the group which the journalists were found guilty of helping,” Ozgur Ogret, the CPJ’s Turkey representative, told Arab News. “This trial has always been an absurd one from the very beginning by that fact alone.”

HIGHLIGHT

The seven individuals were convicted of helping the coup perpetrators through their reporting.

Dozens of media outlets were shut down following the coup attempt and, as many newspapers depend on advertising revenue that the Press Advertising Agency allocates from state resources, there emerged another trigger for self-censorship and restrictions on the space for independent journalism.
Sözcü is a staunch opposition of the domestic and foreign policies of Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP), enraging pro-government circles through critical headlines especially those regarding the president.
Colasan recently criticized Erdogan over his decision to send troops to Libya’s Government of National Accord, asking how could the president speak so irresponsibly, while Dogru has written about government corruption.
The newspaper also disclosed where Erdogan was on the day of the coup attempt, infuriating pro-Ankara figures who said the president had been made into a target.
“Turkish authorities have tried and imprisoned many journalists since the failed coup attempt of 2016 with highly questionable evidence of links to Gülen and his network, like in the Cumhuriyet trial,” said Ogret. “The guilty verdict of the Sözcü trial is the latest example of this misguided approach.”
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who leads the main opposition CHP, also condemned the verdict. “It is a decision made upon the instruction of the political authority,” he told Arab News. “They cannot tolerate that Sözcü enlightens Turkey and says the truth.”


Google honors female Egyptian lawyer Mufidah Abdul-Rahman

Updated 20 January 2020

Google honors female Egyptian lawyer Mufidah Abdul-Rahman

  • Abdul-Rahman was born 106 years ago in Cairo in 1914, she died on Sept. 3, 2002
  • Abdul-Rahman co-founded the National Feminist Party, an organization that fights for universal suffrage in Egypt

DUBAI: Mufidah Abdul-Rahman, one of Egypt’s first female lawyers was honored in a Google doodle on Monday.

Abdul-Rahman was born 106 years ago in Cairo in 1914, she died on Sept. 3, 2002 when she was 88. She graduated from Cairo University’s Faculty of Law and became the premiere female attorney in the country.

A strong supporter of gender equality in Egypt, she regularly strove to improve women’s rights and was first female lawyer to take cases to the Court of Cassation in Egypt and present cases before a military court.

Abdul-Rahman was a strong supporter of gender equality in Egypt, she regularly strove to improve women’s rights and was first female lawyer to take cases to the Court of Cassation in Egypt. (Courtesy of Google)

While practicing law, she co-founded the National Feminist Party, an organization that fights for universal suffrage in Egypt.

Abdul-Rahman was also recruited into the women’s rights group Bint Al-Nil (Daughter of the Nile).

Abdul-Rahman was a strong supporter of gender equality in Egypt, she regularly strove to improve women’s rights and was first female lawyer to take cases to the Court of Cassation in Egypt. (Courtesy of Google)

Google Doodle has honored a number of Egyptian greats in the past, including actor Omar El-Sherif, Singer Umm Kalthoum, actress Faten Hammama and more.