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Watch Your Mouth: Turkey Journalist Jailed Over Op-Ed

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Prison - Sputnik International
The lawyer of the Turkish journalist and chief editor of newspaper BirGün, Barış Ince, who was sentenced to 21 months in prison, spoke to Sputnik in an exclusive interview.

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The investigation against the journalist was launched after he wrote an article on the activities of the Foundation for Assistance Youth and Education of Turkey (TÜRGEV), based on the information on the trial of bribery and corruption December 17-25.

A criminal case was filed against İnce for “insulting” Erdoğan and his son Bilal Erdoğan in the report. İnce was then sued over the plea presented to court in his defense, in which the initials of each paragraph spell out “thief,” in apparent reference to Erdoğan.

The journalist's lawyer said in an interview with Sputnik that he intends to appeal against the decision of the court.

“Baris Inje will be free until the arbitral tribunal delivers its judgment in the case,” the lawyer said.

Meanwhile, he expressed confidence that the Arbitration court will rule in favor of the accused because it is a direct interference and violation of freedom of speech.

“The journalist was accused and sentenced to imprisonment because of his opinions expressed in an article. This is completely contrary to the law. After the court session, I informed about the court decision to Barış Ince. He is familiar with both the processes in contemporary proceedings and with the political and legal situation in the country.”

“He was expecting such a decision as it violates freedom of speech, expression and the press. But we are optimistic, because we believe that the Arbitration Court will not approve of the decision to arrest. From a legal point of view, this is unacceptable,” the lawyer said.

Talking about the newspaper BirGün, the lawyer said that about 40 investigations have been launched against the publication. “Many of those cases demand payment of fines and penalties. It is obvious that the activity of the newspaper is trying to be blocked by creating different kinds of obstacles. Such judgments have one goal and that is to put pressure on the opposition journalism in the country, to stifle the voice of the free press,” the lawyer concluded.

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