People stroll by the Golden Horn in Istanbul, Turkey on April 20, 2018. Turkish authorities sentenced to prison 10 former Feza Media Group employees on terrorism-related charges on April 30, according to reports. (Reuters/Murad Sezer)

Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of April 30, 2018

By Özgür Öğret/CPJ Turkey Representative on May 3, 2018 1:45 PM ET

Feza Media Group trial ends, defendants sentenced

An Istanbul court on April 30 convicted 10 people affiliated with the shuttered Feza Media Group, best known as the publisher of the daily Zaman, on terrorism-related charges, CNNTurk and the media news website P24 reported. All of the defendants were acquitted on charges of "attempting to eliminate" the constitutional order, the reports stated.

According to the reports, the sentences are as follows:

- Hakan Taşdelen, the former manager for Feza's Fia production company, Ahmet Metin Sekizkardeş, the former manager for Feza's Cihan media company, and Faruk Akkan, Cihan's former general director, were each sentenced to 9 years in prison for "being a member of a [terrorist] organization." All three will remain in prison and their time served will count toward their sentences.

- Osman Nuri Aslan and Yüksel Durgut, former Cihan News Agency employees, and Ahmet İrem, a former Cihan News Agency accountant, were sentenced to 7 years and 6 months in prison each for "being member[s] of a [terrorist] organization." Aslan and Durgut will remain on probation pending appeal. İrem was released from prison on probation pending appeal.

- Murat Avcıoğlu, a former Fia shareholder, was sentenced to 3 years and 45 days in prison for "aiding a [terrorist] organization willingly and knowingly without being a member" and released on probation pending appeal.

- Cuma Kaya, a former Fia manager, and Alaattin Güner and Hüseyin Turan, former Feza Group partners, were sentenced to 5 years in prison each for "aiding a [terrorist] organization willingly and knowingly without being a member," but were released on probation pending appeal.

Hüseyin Belli, Onur Kutlu, İsmail Küçük, and Ali Hüseyin Çelebi, Zaman advertisement department employees, and Zafer Özsoy, a Cihan News Agency broadcast technician, were acquitted of all charges, the reports stated.

Journalist imprisoned

Turkish authorities jailed Mehmet Sıddık Damar, a former reporter for the shuttered Dicle News Agency (DİHA), after an appeals court upheld his conviction on charges of "making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization," and his six-month prison sentence, the online news website Gazete Karınca reported on May 1.

According to Gazete Karınca, Istanbul police detained Damar on May 1 and sent him to the city's Metris Prison.

The journalist was previously imprisoned in August 2017 and released after his first trial hearing, CPJ documented.

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