A court in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır decided to release Ozan Kılınç, the former chief editor of the Kurdish daily Azadiya Welat, in accordance with new amendments that came into force following the ratification of the Third Judicial Reform Package by Parliament and President Abdullah Gül on July 2.
"I will resume [working as a] journalist from where I had left off in spite of all the hardships and repression," Kılınç told bianet in wake of his release.
There are still about half a dozen other suits pending in the Supreme Court of Appeals filed against Kılınç, however. The prosecution has requested varying sentences for Kılınç in these trials ranging from one to seven years in prison, but all of them pertain to the same charge of "making propaganda for a terrorist organization."
Kılınç said he never abandoned journalism while he was serving time behind bars at an M-Type Prison in the southeastern province of Bingöl:
"I was constantly writing in prison. I was writing news stories on problems ongoing at the prison and about the cases of other friends standing trial, and I was sending them to my paper. We were still trying to keep up this struggle even though we were [locked up behind bars,]" he said.
"I will resume making news from where I had left off to show that free press cannot be silenced," Kılınç added.
Ozan Kılınç also said he was planning to write a book about the Kurdish press:
"I am planning to tackle the [story of how] the Kurdish press made it until this day, its significance and its aims, as well as the the policies of censorship and repression [hanging] over the press," he said.
Journalist Ozan Kılınç was born in 1984 in Diyarbakır's Lice district.
Law enforcement officials took him under custody during a raid into his home on July 22, 2010. The Diyarbakır Fifth High Criminal Court then sentenced him to 21 years and three months in prison on the charges of "making propaganda for a terrorist organization" and "committing a crime on behalf of a terrorist organization" in connection with the news reports he had published.
The Supreme Court of Appeals then overturned that verdict, and this time around the court sentenced him to six years and nine months behind bars on April 7, 2011.
Kılınç's lawyer Servet Özen subsequently appealed to the Diyarbakır Fifth High Criminal Court following the ratification of the Third Judicial Reform Package, while Kılınç himself also petitioned the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals and the Prison Prosecutor's Office.
The court delegation then ruled for his conditional release.
Kılınç said he had written a letter to bianet on the issue of press censorship on the occasion of the Press Freedom Day on July 24 but that the court released him before the letter could even reach bianet.
"I thank bianet for supporting us both while we were in prison and outside, and for getting our voice heard out there," Kılınç said. (ÇT)