Serpil Günes

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Günes, an editor and owner of the now-defunct socialist weekly Alinteri, was arrested in Izmir in a police raid on a vacation apartment where she and several of her Alinteri colleagues were staying. Günes was charged under Article 168 of the Penal Code for her alleged membership in the outlawed Turkish Revolutionary Communist Union (TIKB).
During her trial, the prosecution stated that police found a counterfeit I.D. card in Günes’ possession, and seized unspecified illegal publications and handwritten documents which purportedly linked her and her colleagues to the TIKB. The prosecution produced witnesses who testified that she was a member of the group. Günes denied all the accusations.
Günes’ lawyer characterized her conviction in this case as a “political decision” and said that she received the maximum 15-year sentence because the state considers Alinteri the mouthpiece of the TIKB.
Günes’ lawyer told CPJ that about 20 cases against her stemming from articles published in the paper during her tenure were suspended following the August 14, 1997, amnesty for editors. Her lawyer said Günes has been fined nearly one billion Turkish lira in her capacity as owner of Alinteri. CPJ sees in these previous convictions a pattern of state harassment of Alinteri for publishing news and dissenting opinion. Former Alinteri staffers said Günes was charged with and convicted of violating Article 7 of the Anti-Terror Law (propagandizing on behalf of an outlawed organization) and Article 312 of the Penal Code (inciting racial hatred) for articles published in the newspaper during her tenure.
On December 2, 1998, the Court of Cassation overturned the verdict and ordered a retrial for Günes under Article 168 of the Penal Code. She is in Usak Prison.