Turkish Cypriot authorities seek to jail journalist for 10 years over “insult”

Turkish Cypriot Ali Kişmir was deported from Turkey in Sept. 2021 after Turkish authorities arrested him in Istanbul Airport citing "security reasons." Photo: Ali Kişmir

Turkish Cypriot columnist and journalists’ union leader Ali Kişmir can be jailed for up to 10 years for “insulting and deriding the security forces” in an opinion article he wrote more than a year ago, a top lawyer announced on Feb. 22.

Hasan Esendağlı, who chairs the Cyprus Turkish Bar Association, has said on his social media accounts that the Northern Cypriot police read out the indictment to Ali Kişmir to launch the criminal procedure.

“Everything that we feared that we may face turns into reality now. Putting people on trial at heavy penal courts because of their opinions or articles is the practice of archaic, repressive regimes (…) As a lawyer, I will defend Kişmir myself,” Esendağlı noted, adding that laws have been weaponized in the country to suppress the freedom of the press.

Kişmir, a columnist for the newspaper Özgür Gazete Kıbrıs, is expected to appear in court soon for violating the Military Crimes and Punishments Law. He is also the leader of the Press Laborers Union (Basın-Sen).


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