Bülent Sümbül

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Sümbül, a reporter in the Diyarbakir bureau of the pro-Kurdish monthly magazine Özgür Halk, was arrested during a police raid on his Diyarbakir office. CPJ believes that the state’s case stemmed from Sümbül’s work as a journalist.
Sümbül’s lawyer told CPJ his client had been accused of violating Article 169 of the Penal Code, aiding the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). To establish Sümbül’s guilt, the prosecution relied on photographs of alleged PKK members which they claimed Sümbül delivered to an imprisoned colleague in Diyarbakir Prison. Sümbül’s lawyer responded: “When you take something to the prison, everything is searched. There is no way that he [Sümbül] could have given her the photos of some PKK members. The guards would have found them…inside the stationery. So, he [Sümbül] denies that he had given [the imprisoned colleague] the photos.”
The prosecution’s statement said that Sumbul was also accused of “being the leader of an organizational cell, taking an active role in an illegal organization, [and] acting as liaison for militants in rural and urban areas.” According to this lawyer, the prosecution also produced a written confession, which police coerced him to sign.
Sümbül denied the charges. He was convicted and sentenced to three years and nine months. He is in Bismil Prison.