Cameraman Rojhat Doğru was tried at the 8th Criminal Court in Diyarbakır (Amed) on seperate charges of “disrupting the unity of the state and the integrity of the country”, “attempted murder”, “membership of the organisation” and “making propaganda of the organisation” with the court sentencing him to multiple sentences of life imprisonment and 12 years and 1 month in prison. The court also issued an arrest warrant to detain the journalist.
Lawyer Resul Tamur was present at the 13th and final hearing yesterday (January 6), which Doğru did not attend.
Covering the Kobani protests
Rojhat Doğru was working as a journalist and cameraman during the Kobani protests in the south-eastern towns of Turkey, where people took the streets against the siege of the Kurdish town of Kobani in NE Syria by ISIS in 2014.
Later journalist Doğru received an award from the Southeastern Journalists Association for the footage he recorded during the massive protests.
However, after he received the award, Doğru was targeted by websites close to the Free Cause Party (HÜDAPAR), a Kurdish and Sunni Islamist political party, and he was blamed for participating in the protests, carrying firearms and even wounding a person whilst operating the camera at the same time.
After the allegations, an investigation was launched against him in 2017 and he was indicted on charges of “disturbing the unity of the state and the integrity of the country” and “attempted murder.”
He was detained in Istanbul on December 3, 2018 as part of another investigation into alleged “membership of the organisation” and “making propaganda for the organisation”. One day later Doğru was charged.
Journalist Doğru was also accused of interviewing members of the organisation at a picnic in the Ranya region of Iraqi Kurdistan while he was working for Galî Kurdistan TV broadcast in Iraq.
Doğru’s attendence at an event organised by the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) to commemorate Sakine Cansız, Fidan Doğan and Leyla Şaylemez, Kurdish politicians who were assasinated in Paris in 2013, was also cited as evidence in the indictment.
He was again arrested on 23 May 2020 for alleged “membership of an organisation” and released 17 July as part of an investigation in Istanbul for sending money to a friend in prison.
Merging of three files
The indictments against journalist Doğru were then merged into one case where he was been standing trial at the Diyarbakır 8th High Criminal Court.
Attorney Resul Tamur defending said that his client is a cameraman and has videos of him carrying his camera during the Kobani protests.
“It is not possible for a person to carry a camera with one hand while carrying out an armed attack with his other hand.” he said.
Tamur also added that the accusations in question were being made by merging the three files against his client.
” All journalists take pictures with the people they interview, this can not be used as evidence.”
Attorney Resul Tamur also added that the statement of the anonymous witness against his client contradicted with the content of the case file.
However, after the verdict, the court issued an arrest warrant for Doğru and gave multiple sentences, one to life imprisonment and another to 12 years and 1 month in prison.