The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) called on Turkish authorities to release Hayri Tunc, a journalist sentenced to two years of in prison on 7 June.
Tunc was arrested in February 2016 and charged with conducting ‘propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organization’ based on his social media posts. Prior to that, he was detained in October 2015 and questioned about his articles on the news portal Jiyan.org, as well as his social network presence. After his release at the time, the government suspended Jiyan portal as well as Tunc’s Twitter account.
The 13th High Criminal Court in Istanbul initially sentenced the journalist to one year and two months in prison for propaganda, after which they prolonged his sentence to two years because his posts were a ‘series of crimes’ and committed through the press.
‘SEEMO is appalled by the conviction of Hayri Tunc and calls for his immediate release’ said SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic. ‘Prison is never an acceptable response to the exercise of free expression’.
SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South, East and Central Europe and its press freedom work is supported by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) project, as part of a grant by the European Commission.