Özgüneş, a veteran journalist and a columnist for the Kurdish-language daily Azadiya Welat, was being held at Silivri L Type High Security Closed Prison No. 2 in Istanbul, according to an updated list of imprisoned journalists provided by the Justice Ministry in November 2013 at CPJ’s request.
According to the same list, Özgüneş is charged with membership in the banned Union of Communities in Kurdistan, or KCK, of which the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) is part; attempting to change the constitutional order by force; and making propaganda for the same banned organization.
Özgüneş has written columns for Azadiya Welat on political, social, cultural, and economic issues since 2007 after writing for Kurdish magazines such as Tiroj and Zend since 1993. He is also a member of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP.
Authorities publicly claim that the pro-Kurdish media are aligned with the banned Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, and the KCK, an umbrella group of pro-Kurdish organizations that includes the PKK. The government says the journalists produce propaganda in favor of the banned organizations.
Authorities would not allow Özgüneş to give statements in his native Kurdish, news accounts said. During questioning, authorities sought information about Özgüneş’ lectures at a BDP political academy, his conversations with the pro-PKK satellite station Roj TV, and his presence at a political demonstration, according to the indictment.
Özgüneş’trial was ongoing in late 2013.