Tuesday, May 17, 2011

DIHA Journalist Ersin Celik Sent to Prison

From Bianet:
Imprisonment of ten months was the verdict for journalist Ersin Çelik on the grounds of a news item about the death of Dicle University student Aydın Erdem. In his article, Çelik had put forward that Erdem died from police bullets when he attended a demonstration in 2009.

The student had actually joined a protest march for people who lost their lives because they were shot by the police and was then gunned down himself. Çelik, reporter for the Dicle News Agency (DİHA) at the time, was tried because he named the alleged perpetrators in his article.

It was reported on Friday (13 May) that the Diyarbakır 6th High Criminal Court handed down a ten-month prison sentence to the journalists on charges of "disclosing the identity of a public official on anti-terror duties".

Çelik was not able to attend the hearing because he is currently being detained in the scope of another trial. He was represented by his lawyer Servet Özen.
Erdem was killed in the mass protests that consumed the southeast in December 2009. In September, charges were brought against Erdem's father for inscribing a martyr's prayer on his son's headstone. The Diyarbakir Chief Prosecutor's Office accused Erdem's father with "praising a crime and a criminal" under Article 215 of the Turkish Penal Code. I am not sure if the charges were dropped. Remember, in Turkey, charges are easily brought by zealous prosecutors looking to make and/or score political points. In Celik's case, those charges have resulted in a prison sentence.

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