Tuesday, 22 February, 2022.
The head of the journalists’ union Press-Sen Ali Kişmir, posted on social media that he could face up to 10 years jail time as he faces legal proceedings for a political article he wrote two years ago, Yeniduzen reported.
His lawyer, head of the Bar Association Hasan Esendağlı, said that the police had filed a lawsuit against Kişmir for allegedly “insulting and defaming the moral personality of the Security Forces”.
Kişmir told Yeniduzen that he could not share the full content of the article because it is the subject of a lawsuit. He only said that the article had been political in nature. He said that the first court hearing will be held on Monday.
Kişmir said: “The police called me today because of an article I wrote two years ago. He said that there was a complaint about the article and that the Office of the Chief Prosecutor evaluated the complaint and decided to prosecute.
“There is a possibility of imprisonment of up to 10 years. We will go to the bail hearing with my lawyer Hasan Esendağlı on Monday and we will oppose the bail.
“The main picture will be revealed after the first hearing”.
His lawyer Hasan Esendağlı said: “A lawsuit was filed by the Police on the allegation that he insulted and defamed the moral personality of the Security Forces. According to Article 26 of the Military Crime and Penalty Law, this offence carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years. We are living in a period where we quickly find everything that we worry about is happening.
“Investigation of people with Criminal Cases due to thoughts, ideas, words and writings is the practice of outdated and oppressive regimes. This type of punishment is used as a weapon to make people shut up and refrain from speaking or writing.
“ We have no choice but to resist them getting us to this point. Otherwise, we will not be able to breathe in this land. If anyone asks about the attitude of the Bar Association towards these cases, I would like it to be known that I personally undertake the defence of Ali Kişmir.”
After the news broke out, politicians rallied and expressed their support for Kişmir with posts on social media. Among those who spoke out were CTP Deputy Doğuş Derya who emphasised that freedom of thought, expression and press are indispensable rights for Turkish Cypriot democracy, she said, “We stand by our journalist friends against those who threaten this freedom”.
Additionally, CTP Deputy Ürünü Solyalı said that “attempts to put pressure on the press by the method of criminal proceedings or in any way is unacceptable“. Freedom of expression is one of the pillars of a democracy, he said.