Case Monitoring

Journalist Sabiha Temizkan receives 1 year 3 months prison sentence

İstanbul – Journalist Sabiha Temizkan’s final hearing where she faces “making terrorist propaganda” based on a 2014 Twitter post of hers, was held today at İstanbul 35th High Criminal Court. The indictment prepared by the Press Crimes Investigation Bureau of İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office presents a 2014 tweet in which Temizkan wrote “Makhmur Camp seized by ISIS…” as evidence against her. 

Temizkan, whom Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) defends, attended the hearing with her lawyer Veysel Ok. She repeated her previous statements and said, “I shared a news story and forgot to add an URL. Though it is apparent that the post consists solely of a headline. This tweet was posted during the time when ISIS attacks were occurring constantly and we were posting our news stories on social media. There is no element of crime involved here, but only a single sentence which is in between quotation marks. I don’t think I committed a crime. I demand my acquittal.”

Lawyer Ok stated that the prosecutor’s opinion was against the law. He noted that there was no element indicating propaganda for a terrorist organization in his client’s tweet. Remarking a number of ECtHR decisions, he said: “The social media post alone, cannot be considered as propaganda for any organization. Although it may appear discomforting to many, this statement is within the scope of freedom of expression.” Ok, also presented the court some examples of headlines dating back to the year 2014 from various news outlets and demanded the acquittal of journalist Temizkan.

Following a short recession, the court announced its final decision and sentenced Temizkan to 1 year and 3 months in prison. The punishment was not suspended as Temizkan had refused the court’s offer to suspend the announcement of her verdict. The court did not defer the verdict based on the grounds that Temizkan “did not express remorse for her action during the proceedings”, and thus it was not of the opinion that she would not do it again.