Erdoğan, former general manager for the leftist Özgür Radyo (The Free Radio), was being held at Gebze Women’s Closed Prison.
Authorities alleged Erdoğan used radio station assets to support the banned Marxist Leninist Communist Party, or MLKP. A full list of the charges against Erdoğan-obtained by CPJ from Turkey’s Justice Ministry-include “breaching the Constitution,” “forming organizations with the intention of committing crimes,” “possessing hazardous substances without permission,” “endangering public safety intentionally,” “damaging property,” and “forgery of official documents,” among others.
On November 5, 2013, Erdoğan, along with several other defendants, was found guilty of the charges and sentenced to life in prison by the Tenth Court of Serious Crimes in Istanbul, the independent news portal Bianet reported.
Zulfü Erdoğan, the journalist’s lawyer and sister, told CPJ that the case against Fusün Erdoğan had been fabricated because the journalist and her news outlet had opposed the administration. She said the main evidence on all charges against her client was a 40-page document that supposedly included the names and personal information of MLKP members. The lawyer questioned the authenticity of the document, saying it was not seized from her client’s home or office and that no evidence connected it to her client.
Erdoğan spent more than seven years in prison before a verdict against her was given-an extraordinarily long period that was also the subject of a complaint before the European Court of Human Rights. Zulfü Erdoğan said the journalist suffered from a thyroid disease and needed medical attention.
Erdoğan is appealing the sentence before Turkey’s Constitutional Court-the last instance of domestic redress. The appeal was pending in late 2013.