Temel, former editor-in-chief and columnist for the Kurdish-language daily Azadiya Welat, was being held at Diyarbakır D Type High-Security Closed Prison on charges of being a member of the Union of Communities in Kurdistan, or KCK, of which the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) is part. He faces more than 22 years in prison if convicted, according to a report by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
In a January 2012 letter to the independent news portal Bianet, Temel said he was being targeted for his journalistic activities. As evidence, the government cited wiretapped telephone conversations he had with colleagues and with members of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) and Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), Temel said. He said the government had wrongly described his work-related travels to Iraq as related to attendance at PKK meetings.
“My articles, correspondences, headline discussions, and requests for news and visuals from reporters were defined as ‘orders’ and ‘organizational activity’ and I am accused of organization leadership,” Temel wrote, describing the government’s indictment.
Another chief editor of Azadiya Welat-Mehmet Emin Yıldırım-was also imprisoned on similar charges.
Temel’s trial was ongoing in Diyarbakır, southeastern Turkey, in late 2013. He had not testified in court by late year, his lawyer, Cemil Sözen, told CPJ.