Journalist Keser's lawyer: The arrest warrant is an attack on freedom of expression

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  • 12:43 29 February 2024
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MERSİN - Reacting to the arrest of journalist Diren Keser, his lawyer Mehdi Zana Akkaya described the approval of the sentence as "an attack on the journalism profession and the public's right to receive information".

Pir News Agency (PIRHA) Mersin Reporter Diren Keser was taken into custody on February 27 and sent to Tarsus Campus Prison after the finalized prison sentence was approved. A lawsuit was filed by the Mersin 9th High Criminal Court in 2017, alleging "terrorist organization propaganda", citing Keser's news posts on the virtual media platform Facebook in 2015. In the case heard in the same year, Keser was sentenced to 2 years, 4 months and 3 days in prison by the court on the same allegation.
Stating that Keser's posts were within the scope of professional activities, Keser's lawyers filed an objection against the decision to the 2nd Criminal Chamber of the Regional Court of Justice in 2018. However, the court of appeal rejected the lawyers' objection on the merits and approved the sentence. Keser, who was arrested in 2019 with the approval of the decision, was released 4 months later after the lawyers applied to the Supreme Court to suspend his execution within the scope of the legal regulation made at that time and appeal the file. After the Supreme Court approved the sentence on February 2, Keser was taken into custody again and arrested.
Mehdi Zana Akkaya, one of Keser's lawyers and a member of the Association of Lawyers for Freedom (OHD), stated that his client was punished for sharing 5 different news stories made by his colleagues on his virtual media account. Stating that these posts are within the scope of professional activity and therefore the crime of "terrorist organization propaganda" in question does not occur, Akkaya said: "It is not legal for these posts to be a crime. This is an attack on the free working conditions of press workers, the public's right to receive information, as well as freedom of thought and expression. Propaganda is a crime that involves a concrete danger. It is clearly an attack to proceed with the execution of the verdict after approximately 10 years have passed since the posts were made and to assume that a propaganda crime has occurred after 5 years have passed since the posts were made, without pointing out any concrete danger."

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