Turkey jails reporters after failed appeal in state secrets trial

Turkey jails reporters after failed appeal in state secrets trial
2 min read
15 February, 2022
Two journalists convicted in 2020 of violating Turkey's state secrets law lost their appeal and will return to prison.
The two journalists will return to prison [Getty]

Two journalists convicted of violating Turkey's state secrets law said on Tuesday they were returning to prison after losing an appeal against their jail sentences.

The 2020 trial concerned a news report alleging that a Turkish intelligence officer was killed in Libya after Ankara provided support to the UN-recognised government in Tripoli.

The Istanbul court in September 2020 sentenced Aydin Keser, Ferhat Celik and Murat Agirel, who works for the Yenicag daily, to four years and eight months in jail each on charges of violating the Turkish Intelligence Agency (MIT) law.

It sentenced then OdaTV editor-in-chief Baris Pehlivan and reporter Hulya Kilinc to three years and nine months each on the same charges.

Agirel and Pehlivan tweeted on Tuesday that they were returning to jail.

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"A third time... We're here, we're going... Goodbye for now," Pehlivan tweeted, with a selfie in front of what appeared to be Istanbul's main Caglayan courthouse.

"I am going to prison again because I called the sons who were martyred for the homeland martyrs," Agirel tweeted.

"People who cannot deny anything I have written until now think they can silence me with injustice," he added.

Turkey comes under frequent criticism from rights defenders, who say Ankara undermines media freedom by jailing journalists and shutting down critical media outlets.

Reporters Without Borders placed Turkey 153rd out of 180 nations on its Press Freedom Index for 2021.