Turkish prosecutor requests acquittal of Dutch reporter

8th April 2015, Comments 0 comments

A Turkish prosecutor on Wednesday requested the acquittal of a Dutch journalist specialising in Kurdish issues who was accused of spreading "terrorist propaganda" for the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Frederike Geerdink, who is based in the Kurdish-majority southeastern city of Diyarbakir, had been briefly detained in January after authorities raided her home.

She was then charged with publishing material in support of the PKK, charges which could have seen her jailed for up to five years and sparked international concern.

However as the trial got underway at a Diyarbakir criminal court, prosecutors immediately asked for an acquittal of Geerdink and the hearing was adjourned after just one hour.

The "prosecutor just pleaded for my acquittal", Geerdink wrote on Twitter, in comments confirmed by Turkish news reports. She added her lawyer was satisfied with the prosecutor's move.

The judge, who now is widely expected to acquit the reporter, will read the final verdict on Monday.

"I am not guilty of anything, I have not made any propaganda and I know this very well," Geerdink told reporters after the hearing.

"That is why I felt very strong from the start and still feel very strong," she added. "The judge is going to take a good decision on Monday but this trial should still not have taken place."

The case against her highlighted concerns about press freedom in Turkey under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, where a host of public figures are facing legal proceedings on charges of insulting the president.

Geerdink said ahead of the trial opening that she was not sure why the charges had been laid against her but was confident of being acquitted.

"What I have written cannot in any way be considered propaganda. The accusations are very random. I could not have been any more meticulous in my work," she told AFP.

Geerdink, who moved to Turkey in 2006, has been based in Diyarbakir since 2012 and specialises in writing about the Kurds.

Her articles have been published in Dutch and English-language media and also the anti-government Turkish news website Diken (diken.com.tr).

The case also came as the government and Kurdish leaders are seeking to end the decades-long insurgency in the southeast by the PKK for self-rule and greater rights for Kurds that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

Erdogan on Wednesday launched one of his bitterest tirades against journalists, accusing the press of being an accomplice in the killing of a prosecutor in Istanbul last week.

© 2015 AFP

0 Comments To This Article