Açıkel, news editor for the now-inactive daily Devrim Yolunda İşçi Köylü (Worker Peasant on the Path to Revolution), was sentenced to 12 years in prison on charges of propagandizing for the Workers’ and Peasants’ Liberation Army of Turkey, according to Justice Ministry records. The government has labeled the organization a terrorist group because it has targeted counterterrorist operatives for attack. The paper, which focused on workers’ rights and labor news, was an official organ of the group.
In a July statement, Açıkel said he had actually been sentenced to a 13-year prison term and a fine of 78,000 Turkish lira (US$44,735).
In a July 2011 supplement titled “Arrested Newspaper,” written by jailed journalists and distributed by several dailies, Açıkel described intense official harassment prior to his sentencing. He wrote that prosecutors had opened separate criminal cases for each new issue of his newspaper, a situation that led to multiple hearings on a daily basis. CPJ research shows that Turkish authorities often file repetitive and duplicative charges against critical journalists as a means of harassment.