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Turkish journalists' sentencing protested

Oct. 29, 2008 at 2:39 PM

ISTANBUL, Turkey, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- A Turkish lawyer says he is appealing prison sentences given his two clients who published a declaration from Kurdish separatists in their newspaper.

Editor Mehmet Ugras Vatandas and Ahmet Sami Belek, publisher of the Daily Evrensel were given a year in prison Wednesday for printing the declaration from the Kurdish Workers Party, which is known by its Kurdish-language initials of PKK, last year.

Defense attorney Devrim Avci told Bianet after the sentencing that he had filed an appeal even though he hadn't had time to research the basis for the court's ruling.

Bianet said the Journalist Association of Turkey said in a written statement that the harsh attitudes of the Turkish government and military toward the PKK had made it difficult for the court to uphold freedom of expression.