Turkey sentences journalists to prison over Libya reporting

Turkey sentences journalists to prison over Libya reporting
2 min read
09 March, 2021
The two reporters were charged with revealing state secrets.
At least 47 journalists are currently jailed in Turkey, according to the CPJ [Getty]
A Turkish court sentenced two journalists to prison on Monday over their reporting on Ankara's military involvement in Libya.

The Ankara court sentenced Muyesser Yildiz, a news editor for opposition outlet OdaTV, to three years and seven months.

Ismail Duken of the TELE1 station received a sentence of one year and 15 days, state news agency Anadolu reported.

The court also sentenced military officer Erdal Baran to seven and a half years in prison for "sharing state secrets" with Yildiz and Duken.

The two journalists had published articles giving the details of a Turkish military officer who was sent to oversee the country's military operations in Libya, where Ankara intervened last year to support the UN-backed government in Tripoli.

The articles also named military officers who allegedly met with Khalifa Haftar, the rogue Libyan commander who led a campaign to seize Tripoli until the two sides signed a ceasefire agreement last year. 

The three were arrested in June last year. Duken was released pending trial, while Yildiz spent five months in pre-trial detention. 

The OdaTV journalist described the trial as a "revenge case".

Five other journalists from opposition news outlets were sentenced to prison last year for reporting on the funeral of a Turkish military officer who was killed in Libya.

Those convicted included OdaTV's editor-in-chief, Baris Pehlivan.

They were charged with violating Turkey's national security laws and disclosing state secrets.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists ranks Turkey as one of the world's worst jailers of journalists, alongside China and Egypt.

At least 47 journalist are currently imprisoned in the country, according to the CPJ. Many of them are held on terror charges.

Turkey maintains that the journalists are prosecuted for criminal acts and not for their journalistic work.

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