Turkish court sentences “Bakur” filmmakers to 4 and a half years in jail

This statement was originally published on cpj.org on 19 July 2019,

Documentary filmmakers Ertuğrul Mavioğlu and Çayan Demirel, directors of the 2015 documentary movie “Bakur” (“North”), about the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), were sentenced to four years and six months in prison yesterday for “making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization” by a court in the southeastern city of Batman, according to news reports. The court initially sentenced the defendants to three years each but increased the sentences as required by Turkish law because the “propaganda” was made “through press and broadcast,” according to the same reports.

“The harsh sentences handed down against filmmakers Ertuğrul Mavioğlu and Çayan Demirel for documenting the Kurdistan Workers Party are just the latest example of the use of Turkey’s anti-terror law to crush freedom of expression,” said CPJ Program Director Carlos Martinez de la Serna in New York. “We call on Turkish authorities to drop this case and stop conflating news coverage of terrorism with actual terrorism.”

Mavioğlu and Demirel were not under arrest during the trial, and are free pending appeal but banned from foreign travel, the reports added. Mavioğlu tweeted after the verdict, saying they were not able to offer their final defense statement to the court.

In 2018, CPJ was a signatory to a joint letter calling for their acquittal, addressed to the Culture and Justice Ministers.

The post Turkish court sentences “Bakur” filmmakers to 4 and a half years in jail appeared first on IFEX.



Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) is a network of human rights journalists in Uganda working towards enhancing the promotion, protection and respect of human rights through defending and building the capacities of journalists, to effectively exercise their constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms for collective campaigning through the media.

Related posts