Azadiya Welat, a daily newspaper publishing in Kurdish, has once more been subjected to a one-month publication ban under allegations of "spreading propaganda for the PKK", the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party. This is the second publication ban for the newspaper within three days.
The Istanbul 12th High Criminal Court had already decreed to stop the publication of the daily for one month on 27 March because imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan had been described as the "leader of the Kurdish people" in one of the articles. On 28 March, the same court imposed the same punishment on the same paper once more because of alleged spreading of propaganda.
Obituary of PKK member one of the reasons for publication ban
As reasons for the publication ban the court quoted an article written by Medeni Ferho on page seven entitled "Hefteya Cengaweriyê Destana Azadiyê ye" ('Heroism week is the saga of freedom') and the article "Çîroka Berîtana Herokolî" ('The story of Herekoli Beritan') by Özgür Serhat.
Moreover, the obituary of PKK member Fatih Çetin (Xemgin Amed) entitled "Bîranîn" ('Remembrance') published on page seven was given as the third reason.
Newspaper officials: Wrong translation
Newspaper officials claimed that the articles in both issues were translated incorrectly. Accordingly, he article entitled "Hefteya Cengaweriyê Destana Azadiyê ye" meaning 'Heroism week is the saga of freedom' was translated by the court as "The week of heroic sagas of warriors of freedom".
The Azadiya Welat newspaper was handed down a total of seven one-month publication bans within the past four years.
According to article 6/last paragraph of the Anti-Terror Act (law no. 3713), "the publication of periodicals may be banned for the duration of 15 days up to one month upon the decision of a judge in case the periodical contains public incitement to criminal offences on behalf of a terrorist organization, praise of committed crimes and criminals or propaganda for a terrorist organization; in cases where delays would cause adverse consequences, the Public Prosecutor can order referring measures. The Public Prosecutor notifies the judge about the decision within 24 hours the latest. If the judge does not approve the decision within 48 hours, it shall be deemed void" (EÖ/VK)