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July 18, 2019

Turkish court acquits RSF representative

National

July 18, 2019

ISTANBUL: An Istanbul court on Wednesday acquitted the Turkey representative for Reporters Without Borders (RSF) as well as two other campaigners for press freedom on trial for terrorism charges, their lawyers said.

RSF representative Erol Onderoglu, Human Rights Foundation of Turkey president Sebnem Korur Fincanci and author Ahmet Nesin were jailed briefly in 2016 but later released as their trial continued, a British wire service reported.

The defendants were accused of carrying out terrorist propaganda and incitement to crime after guest-editing Ozgur Gundem, a newspaper on Kurdish issues, and campaigning against efforts to censor it.

Lawyer Meric Eyuboglu said the verdict was bittersweet because others who also guest-edited the newspaper had received jail sentences. “We were thinking that they would receive a sentence because of the verdicts in other similar cases and the political juncture we are going through,” she said.

“We had a surprise today and they were acquitted,” added the lawyer, who represented Fincanci. Paris-based RSF welcomed the verdict but called for charges in the separate case against Onderoglu to be dropped. “We are deeply relieved by @ErolOnderoglu’s and his colleague’s acquittal. BUT 3 years of absurd proceedings was already a form of unjust punishment,” it said on Twitter.

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