Turkish court decides to release chief
editor of Kurdish Daily Azadiye Welat
Vedat Kursun, former Editor-in-Chief of Azadiya
Welat, the only Kurdish-language newspaper in
See Related Links
July 28, 2012
DIYARBAKIR, The Kurdish
region of Turkey, — A court in the southeastern
Kurdish province of Diyarbakir ruled to release
Vedat Kurşun, the chief editor of the Kurdish daily
Azadiye Welat, in accordance with the Third Judicial
Reform Package that came into force earlier this
month, after he spent three years and seven months
behind bars in the Diyarbakır D-Type Closed Prison.
Kurşun was entangled in a series of complicated
trials on terrorism related charges and last
arrested by order of the Diyarbakir Fifth High
Criminal Court on Jan. 29, 2009. The court
delegation had sentenced him to a jaw-dropping
166 years and
six months in prison,www.ekurd.net
but following a decision by the Supreme Court of
Appeals, judicial authorities later reduced this
to 10 years and six months.
"They filed suits against all the issues of the
newspaper I have been publishing for two years, save
for a few," Kurşun had told bianet in a letter.
The court decided to release Kurşun in compliance
with a section in the Third Judicial Package that
stipulates the suspension of prison sentences
incurred through the offense of "making propaganda
on behalf of a terrorist organization" via the
"There are no documents beyond the newspapers'
issues and distorted translation records of the
court or any other documents of any sort that [could
be] taken as [evidence] of a crime," he said.
A tale of justice gone awry
Vedat Kurşun related the details of his long-winded
entanglement in the halls of Turkish justice in a
letter he had penned to bianet:
"The Diyarbakir Sixth High Criminal Court arrested
me [when] I went there to testify on Feb. 5, 2008
and [placed] me in the Diyarbakır D-Type Prison. I
was released three months later in consequence of
intense public pressure," Kurşun said in his letter.
"The prosecution requested 105 years in prison for
me. The court delegation sentenced me to four and a
half years on the charge of 'making propaganda on
behalf of a terrorist organization.' This case is
still pending in the Supreme Court of Appeals."
"I was arrested on Jan. 29, 2009 by order of the
Diyarbakır Fifth High Criminal Court. The prosecutor
requested 525 years in prison for me in this case.
The court delegation sentenced me to 166 years and
six months in prison on May 13, 2010. The Supreme
Court of Appeals overturned this decision about a
year later and sent it back to the local court. This
time around, I was sentenced to 10 years and six
months in prison. This case is also pending in the
Supreme Court of Appeals."
"The Diyarbakır Fourth High Criminal Court sentenced
me to three years in prison over the same charges on
Feb., 2010. This file is also pending in the Supreme
Court of Appeals. Moreover, I have also been
sentenced to four years in prison by high criminal
courts in Istanbul in suits filed against me at
various dates. These files are also pending in the
Supreme Court of Appeals, as in the other cases,"
Kurşun explained in his letter.
And what of the rest?
Azadiye Welat's managing editors Ruken Ergün and
Ozan Kılıç are still serving time behind bars.
A total of 95 journalists landed in jail in the
month of July, according to the BIA Media Monitoring
Report, and Kurşun was also among their ranks.
Courts sentenced 24 people, including six
journalists, to a total of 91 years, nine months and
18 days in prison, as well as to pay 40,000 Turkish
Liras in fines, on April, May and June, 2012.
Some 35 distributors were also serving time in jail
during the second quarter of 2012.
Copyright ©, respective
author or news agency,
does not take credit for and is not responsible for the
content of news information on this page