Necati Abay Sentenced to 11 Years and 3 Months of Prison

24.5.2013 – BIANET – Necati Abay, a representative of Solidarity Platform with Jailed Journalists (TGDP) was sentenced to 11 years and 3 months of prison for terrorist organization membership allegations – charges that Abay claimed to be influenced by PM Erdoğan and certain media coverage against him.

After the announcement of verdict that convicted him of “being a terrorist organization member”, Abay released a statement. “Even though there is no evidence on the related charges, I was convicted due to court opinion,” the statement said. “PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has a direct contribution on my conviction.”

“Injustice reinforced”

Some of the highlights from the statement included:

“On 21 May 2013, on the 10th hearing of a 10 year long trial, Istanbul 12th High Criminal Court found me guilty of ‘being a terrorist organization member on the ground that their ‘opinion’. Even though there was no evidence, I was ordered to serve 11 years and 3 months of prison, and subjected to judiciary control and international travel ban.  “On 15 October 2012 Supreme Court of Appeals overturned a verdict by a local court dated 4 May 2012 which sentenced me to 18 years and 9 months of prison. But the Supreme Court of Appeals still ordered me to serve 10 to 15 years for ‘being an organization member’

“Nothing changed in my re-trial process. The injustice was just once more reinforced.”

“Erdoğan, Akit and Star pointed me out”

“On 7 March 2012 PM Erdoğan mentioned my platform’s name on TV and accused it to create fake jailed journalists lists. “I think that PM’s denigration campaign contributed to the verdicts reached by both Supreme Court of Appeals and local court.  “Solidarity Platform with Jailed Journalists (TGDP) had a significant role, domestically and internationally, in bringing awareness and standing against the reality that Turkey had the highest number of jailed journalists in the world.“On 28 February 2013 I was subjected to media terrorism with fake and biased news. I think these articles also contributed to my conviction. 

“The cost of my struggle”

“Several people paid the price of defending press freedom in Turkey so far. Musa Anter, Metin Göktepe, Hrant Dink are just examples who paid the price with their lives. “My colleagues Hatice Duman, Yüksel Genç, Bayram Namaz, Ömer Çelik paid the price with prison terms. And they are still doing so. “As a socialist journalist with 38 years of experience, I was arrested 3 times and also paid the price. Currently, I am maintaining my struggle as an exiled journalist abroad. “The injustice that I was subjected to while I was working at Atilim newspaper in 2003 has a new episode now. I will continue to seek justice. “I would like to have a special emphasis on something: What I am subjected through is also the cost of my contribution to a European Court of Human Rights verdict that found Turkey and some police officers (including Sedat Selim Ay, the current deputy police commissioner of Istanbul) guilty of torture.”