Journalist Sinan Aygül was sentenced on Tuesday to 10 months in prison at the first hearing of the first and only case filed under Turkey’s new Disinformation Law, reported Gazete Karınca.
Turkish police detained Aygül, head of the Bitlis Journalists Association, in December following his report on the alleged abuse of a 14-year-old girl by police officers, and other perpetrators. The journalist immediately retracted a twitter post on the subject and made a public apology for reporting on the case before the facts were confirmed.
Aygül was charged at the Tatvan Court of General Session for “disinforming the public”. Turkey’s parliament approved the first two articles of a new anti-disinformation law in October, as prepared by Turkey’s top Constitutional Court.
Aygül’s lawyers demanded Tatvan Court postpone the disinformation law articles in relation to this trail, but the request was rejected.
“I told the panel that the law is antidemocratic and that I will not contribute to its legitimisation by defending myself, and I remained silent in the court room,” Aygül said on his Twitter account with the hashtag #journalismisnotacrime.
“When the last dissident is arrested, when the last journalist is silenced, we will understand what this law means,” added the journalist.
The disinformation law, which the opposition defines as the ‘censorship law’, was adopted by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM). International organisations protested the content of the new disinformation law.
Turkey was ranked 149th among 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 2022 World Press Freedom Index.