After the Istanbul Regional Appeals Court upheld their convictions, journalists Barış Pehlivan, Murat Ağırel and Hülya Kılınç have been sent back to prison in a case related to their coverage of the death of a Turkish intelligence officer in Libya in 2020.
Pehlivan, who has been jailed three times in the last 12 years, and Ağırel came to the Istanbul Çağlayan Courthouse on Feb. 15 for the relevant judiciary procedures. Aftewards, they were sent to the Silivri Prison on the outskirts of the city.
Pehlivan shared a photo of his in front of the courthouse and tweeted: “For the third time...We have come, we are going...Goodbye for now.”
Üçüncü kez…— Barış Pehlivan (@barispehlivan) February 15, 2022
İşte geldik, gidiyoruz… Hoşça kalın şimdilik… pic.twitter.com/zA1kSHmzzS
Ağırel also took to Twitter to slam the move by saying: “Those who could not refute anything I have written so far think that they can silence me by injustice. Do not stay silent, do not be afraid, do not get used it.”
Şehit olan vatan evlatlarına şehadet dilediğim için bugün tekrar cezaevine giriyorum.— Murat AĞIREL (@muratagirel) February 15, 2022
Şehit edenler ise ülkemde renkli halılar ile karşılanıyor.
Şimdiye kadar yazdığım hiçbir şeyi yalanlayamayanlar beni adaletsizlikle susturacaklarını sanıyorlar.
Journalist Kılınç was taken under police custody at her house in the western province of Manisa. Following a health check-up, she was sent to jail.
The convictions concern the journalists' reports on the funeral of a filed officer with the Turkish National Intelligence Agency (MİT) who served and died in Libya. The journalists were accused of revealing state secrets and kept in pre-trial detention for several months in 2020 over the charges. On Sept. 9, 2020, they were given jail terms by the Istanbul 34th Heavy Penal Court, but released on the same day pending appeal.
Pehlivan and Kılınç were sentenced to three years and nine months in jail, while Ağırel was given a jail term of four years and eight months.
On Feb. 2, the Istanbul Regional Appeals Court upheld the journalists' convictions, as a result of which they were sent back to jail to serve the remaining of their terms.
The journalists' imprisonment received widespread condemnation, with social media campaigns "Journalism is not a crime" (#GazetecilikSuçDeğildir) and "We are rejecting this punishment" (#BuCezayiReddediyoruz) going viral on Twitter.
"Barış Pehlivan: 'These dark days will also go away.' Murat Ağırel: 'We are journalists. We do not stay silent, are not scared, and do not ever get used to it!'" the Turkish Union of Journalists (TGS) wrote on Twitter, also sharing the photos of the journalists.
⚡️ MİT mensubunun cenazesini haberleştirdikleri ve paylaştıkları için yargılanan meslektaşlarımız tekrar cezaevine giriyor.#BarışPehlivan: Bu kara günler de geçecek.#MuratAğırel: Bizler gazeteciyiz. Susmayız, korkmayız, asla da alışmayız! #GazetecilikSuçDeğildir pic.twitter.com/ReeE5WvU5v— Gazeteciler Sendikası (@TGS_org_tr) February 15, 2022
Critics say President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has eroded the independence of courts and the media since a crackdown following an attempted coup in 2016.