Tunç, a reporter for the pro-Kurdish Dicle News Agency and the daily Özgür Gündem (The Free Agenda), was serving two separate prison terms of six years and three months each.
In the first case, Tunç was convicted of producing propaganda for, aiding and abetting intentionally, and being a member of the banned Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, and of using the media to perform those activities, according to an updated list of imprisoned journalists provided by the Turkish Justice Ministry in November 2013 at CPJ’s request.
Mensur Işık, one of Tunç’s lawyers, said the journalist was also convicted on separate charges related to his published work and participation in live broadcasts on the pro-PKK ROJTV, which led to accusations of membership in a banned organization. The pro-Kurdish Özgür Gündem said the sentence had been upheld by the Supreme Court. He is currently serving the second sentence.
After his first case was heard, some of Tunç’s lawyers were themselves imprisoned as part of an investigation into the Union of Communities in Kurdistan, or KCK, an umbrella group of pro-Kurdish organizations that includes the PKK.
In March 2012, Tunç sent a letter to the independent news portal Bianet in which he alleged that authorities had set him up for a false arrest. In April 2007, he said, he offered a woman he believed to be a member of the Democratic Society Party, a legal entity that was the forerunner of today’s Peace and Democracy Party, some assistance in finding lodging. Tunç said he did not know the woman and now believed she had acted as an agent of the police. Within days, he said, he was detained on charges of aiding a member of a terrorist group.
In 2011, Tunç was transferred to the Rize Kalkandere L Type Prison in Rize, where he was being held in late 2014, according to a June 2014 report by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.