Kurdish journalist Yalçın fined for allegedly damaging bars of his cell

Kurdish journalist Hakan Yalçın has been sentenced to prison and fined for allegedly damaging the window bars of his cell in a high-security prison in Ankara.

A court in Turkey has sentenced Kurdish journalist Hakan Yalçın to twelve months in prison and a fine of the equivalent of around 500 euros. Ankara Regional Court accused the journalist of the Mezopotamya (MA) news agency of damaging public property. According to the court's verdict, he sawed through the window bars of a cell in the high-security Sincan prison while he was being held there on suspicion of terrorism.

The verdict does not reveal what Yalçın is said to have used to saw through the window bars of a single cell in wing B-15 for political prisoners in Sincan prison. The journalist rejected the accusation. He only tore down a fly screen to gasp for air in the stuffy isolation cell after an asthma attack. The verdict is not yet legally binding. Yalçın's defense lawyer, Ömer Faruk Yazıcı, has already announced an appeal.

Yalçın was in custody in Sincan Prison from October 2022 to May 2023, together with eight other media workers in the tradition of the free Kurdish press, on charges of membership in the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). A total of twelve journalists are accused in the ongoing proceedings and face up to 15 years in prison. Human rights organizations criticize the process as politically motivated.