Turkey sentences journalist Engin Eren to three years in prison on terrorism charges
Engin Eren, a former reporter for shuttered Dicle News Agency (DIHA) has been sentenced to three years in prison on charges of "aiding an illegal organization without being a member of it” on Wednesday.
The decision arrived in today’s 34th hearing of the case that has been ongoing for the last seven years, Bianet reported.
On Sept.2015, 82 people, including pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ayse Acar Basaran put up a tent and launched a sit-in demonstration in Turkey’s southeastern Batman province to prevent clashes between Turkish military and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). All 82 demonstrators and Eren who was reporting the protest for DIHA, have been detained on the grounds of acting as “human shields” for the PKK and released two days after their detention. Following their release, the Batman Chief Prosecutor’s Office filed an indictment for 76 people.
While the case files for 44 defendants, including HDP deputy Basaran’s had been separated during previous hearings, the prosecution accused the rest 32 defendants including Eren of "being a member of a terrorist organization," "violating the Law on military forbidden zones and safe zones," and "violating the Law on gatherings and demonstrations."
The Batman 2nd Heavy Penal Court on Wednesday sentenced Eren to three years, one month and 15 days in prison, while acquitted him of the other charges.
The PKK is an outlawed armed group in Turkey, fighting an insurgency for Kurdish autonomous rights since 1984. It is designated as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.
Turkey under the rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan intensified a crackdown on Kurdish groups in the recent years, mainly on the country’s second largest opposition HDP, blaming them of having links with the PKK. Journalists also frequently find themselves under investigation related to terrorism charges over the Kurdish issue.