Uğur Akgül

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Authorities in the southeastern city of Mardin took Uğur Akgül, a former reporter for the shuttered pro-Kurdish Dicle News Agency (DİHA), into custody on August 8, 2018, to serve his prison sentence of four years, after an appeals court upheld the conviction, according to reports.

Police first detained Akgül and fellow DİHA journalist Meltem Oktay on April 11, 2016, during dawn raids on their homes in Nusaybin, a city in Mardin Province, southeastern Turkey, according to the indictment.

At that time, Nusaybin was under curfew due to clashes between rebel Kurds, whom Turkey considered as terrorists affiliated with the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), and Turkish security forces. Prosecutors scheduled to question the two journalists on April 13, 2016, considered Nusaybin’s courthouse to be unsafe, according to a DİHA report. Prosecutors instead questioned the pair in a makeshift court on the top floor of a hospital in Nusaybin on April 14, DİHA reported. Police cited as evidence their journalistic work and posts to social media websites, the news agency said. A Nusaybin court ordered Oktay to be jailed and released Akgül pending trial. Both faced charges of being a member of a [terrorist] organization” and making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization” according to press reports.

At the second court hearing on August 18, 2016, a Mardin court released Oktay, according to press reports.

On November 25, 2016, the journalists were convicted and sentenced to four years in prison on charges of producing propaganda for the PKK in connection with material they published to social media websites, the daily Özgürlükçü Demokrasi reported. The court acquitted both of the charge of being members of a terrorist organization. The journalists were freed pending appeal.

Since being taken into custody on August 8, 2018, Akgül has been detained in Mardin Prison.