Charged with “making a public officer a target for terrorist organizations” for openly writing the name of the new prosecutor in her news story entitled “Special Prosecutor for Boğaziçi University Students,” former Evrensel reporter Cansu Pişkin has been sentenced to 10 months in prison. The announcement of the verdict has been suspended.
The news article in question was published on daily Evrensel on April 5, 2018 and it was about the arrest of Boğaziçi University students who protested the Operation Olive Branch launched by Turkey into Syria’s Afrin in 2018.
The third hearing of the case held at the İstanbul 36th Heavy Penal Court yesterday (May 7) was attended by journalist Pişkin and her attorneys.
The hearing was also followed by Erol Önderoğlu, the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Representative to Turkey, as well as representatives from the International Press Institute (IPI) and Article 19.
Repeating her defense that she made in her previous hearings, Pişkin stated that she made the news in question not with the aim of committing a crime, but to inform the public. Concluding her statement of defense, Pişkin said, “Journalism is not a crime.”
Speaking after his client, attorney Levent Pişkin indicated that the element of crime did not arise and requested immediate acquittal of Cansu Pişkin.
Underlining that statements of defense have no influence on opinion as to the accusations, attorney Pişkin further stated,
“In the previous hearing, we argued over whether prosecutors are public officers or not. Prosecutors are judicial officers, which stems from its independence and its definition as a power of justice.”
Reminding that Ergün Güçlü, the prosecutor of the time, was also reported by other newspapers, Pişkin continued, “When newspapers such as Sabah and Takvim report, it is not considered a crime, but when daily Evrensel reports, it is deemed a crime. It is not fair and a verdict of conviction would not be compatible with the principles of rule of law.”
The board of the İstanbul 36th Heavy Penal Court announced its ruling after the break and ruled that journalist Cansu Pişkin shall be sentenced to 1 year in prison on charge of “revealing the identities of public officers who participated in struggle against terrorism.”
Reducing the prison term by one sixth, the court has sentenced Pişkin to 10 months in prison. The announcement of the verdict has been suspended. (HA/SD)