Seda Taşkın, a journalist for Mezopotamya News Agency, was ordered arrested on Jan 23, 2018 over accusations of “membership in a terrorist organisation”. Taşkın was taken into custody by police at her house in Ankara.
17 January 2019:
Reyhan Çapan, the former managing editor of the shuttered pro-Kurdish daily Özgür Gündem, who was sent to prison in May 2018 to serve a 15-month sentence that was upheld by an appellate court, was this week ordered to be released under probation. Although Çapan was expected to be freed on 16 January, she remained in prison because of a TL 55,660 sum of fines that had been imposed on her in separate cases and were overdue. Çapan was eventually released from the Erzurum Prison on 17 January.
Also on 17 January, Seda Taşkın, a reporter for the Mezopotamya news agency (MA), who had been in prison for a year, was released from the Sincan Prison in Ankara. Taşkın was released as per an interim ruling issued by an appellate court overseeing the appeal against the prison sentence Taşkın was given in October. Taşkın was sentenced to a total of 7,5 years in prison on the charges of “aiding a terrorist group without being its member” and “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist group.”
Journalist Seda Taşkın on Wednesday was sentenced to seven years, six months in prison on charges of supporting a terrorist organization and disseminating terrorist propaganda, the Mezopotamya news website reported. She was arrested in January in Turkey’s capital city of Ankara on the basis of several tips received by the police after she had been briefly detained and released in December.
One of the tips accused her of shooting propaganda videos for “terrorists” and organizing youths for the benefit of a terrorist group, the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Her tweets and phone contacts with pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies were cited as evidence in the indictment. Although her trial was held at the Muş 2nd High Criminal Court, she has been jailed in Ankara.
12 September 2018:
Prosecutor seeks lengthy jail term for Seda Taşkın
The prosecutor demanded Seda Taşkın’s conviction on charges of “terrorist group membership” and “propaganda.” She remains behind bars
ÖZGÜN ÖZÇER / MUŞ
The third hearing of the trial against Mezopotamya news agency reporter Seda Taşkın was heard on 12 September in the eastern province of Muş.
During the hearing, monitored in the courtroom by P24, the prosecutor submitted his final opinion during the hearing, asking for Taşkın’s conviction on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization” and committing “continuous propaganda for a terrorist organization.” The 2nd High Criminal Court of Muş, which oversees the case, adjourned the trial to 10 October 2018 to allow time for defense lawyers to prepare their statements against the prosecutor’s conviction demand.
The court also ordered Taşkın to remain in pretrial detention. Taşkın has been jailed since 22 January 2018.
“No journalist can do their job with these accusations”
Speaking from the Sincan Women’s Prison facility in Ankara where she remains jailed via the judicial teleconference system, Taşkın said all accusations against her stemmed from her journalistic work. “I am a journalist. I have been deprived of my freedom for doing my work. With these kinds of accusations, journalists will become unable to do their job,” said Taşkın, adding that none of her own reports had been used as evidence in the case against her. “I am primarily a culture reporter. When I was arrested in Muş, I came to interview the Culture and Solidarity Association at the district of Varto. But my interviews were not even included in the case file,” she said.
Taşkın’s lawyer Ebru Akkal expressed her indignation over the prosecutor’s final opinion. “All evidences presented from the first official report to the last document were debunked,” Akkal said, insisting that no new evidence was presented by prosecutors since Taşkın had been released four days after her initial arrest in Muş on December 2017.
“The person who did one of the news report my client has shared was acquitted, and my client is accused of membership in a terrorist organization. The person she interviewed has a record, still it’s my client who is accused of membership in a terrorist organization. Should she ask for a criminal record certificate before making interviews” Akkal asked. “Criminal law is not about reading intentions. Were it so, everyone would be convicted for the interpretation of their opinions.”
Akkal also asked Taşkın’s release. “She has already been detained for nine months. The continuation of her detention would amount to the usurpation of her constitutional rights,” she said.
After a brief deliberation, the court refused the demand of Taşkın’s release setting 10 October 2018 as the date of the next hearing. The court also rejected a demand to bring witnesses to testify that Taşkın’s family and friends don’t call her by “Seher”, the name on her ID, but use the name “Seda” instead. To justify the charges of “membership in a terror organization,” the prosecution claimed that “Seda” is a “code name” – without presenting any further evidence to support this claim.
Lawyers have also argued that evidence collected following a tip off via email from an address with an extension commonly used by members of the police department was unlawful and should thus be invalidated. The court, however, rejected for a third time to investigate the identity of the person who sent that email and to re-assess the legality of the evidence. Source
A court in the southeastern city of Bitlis on January 23 ordered Seda Taşkın, a reporter for the pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya Agency, to be held in custody on accusations of "being a member of a [terrorist] organization, according to a report in the online newspaper Demokrat Haber that quoted her employer.
Police detained Taşkın while she was reporting in the eastern Muş region, and then released her under judicial control. She was taken back into custody in Ankara, and attended the court proceedings via videoconference from the capital, according to Demokrat Haber. Source
23. December 2017:
Police in the eastern province of Muş on December 19 detained Seda Taşkın, a reporter for the pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya, while she was reporting, the daily Evrensel reported. Authorities questioned the journalist about her work and social media posts before releasing her on December 24, according to Evrensel. Taşkın is still under investigation, according to the news report.