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Turkey jails reporters after failed appeal in state secrets trial

People walk outside the Justice Palace, in Istanbul, Sept. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Mehmet Guzel)
People walk outside the Justice Palace, in Istanbul, Sept. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Mehmet Guzel)

Three journalists convicted of violating Turkey’s state secrets law return to prison after losing an appeal against their jail sentences.

The 2020 trial concerned a news report alleging that a Turkish intelligence officer was killed in Libya after Ankara provided support to the UN-recognized government in Tripoli.

In September that year, the Istanbul court sentenced Aydin Keser, Ferhat Celik and Murat Agirel — who works for the Yenicag daily — to four years and eight months in jail each on charges of violating the Turkish Intelligence Agency (MIT) law.

It sentenced then OdaTV editor-in-chief Baris Pehlivan and reporter Hulya Kilinc to three years and nine months each on the same charges.

Agirel and Pehlivan tweet that they are returning to prison.

“A third time… We’re here, we’re going… Goodbye for now,” Pehlivan tweets alongside a selfie in front of what appears to be Istanbul’s main Caglayan courthouse.

“I am going to prison again because I called the sons who were martyred for the homeland martyrs,” Agirel tweets. “People who cannot deny anything I have written until now think they can silence me with injustice,” he adds.

President Isaac Herzog is preparing for a rare visit to Turkey next month as relations between Jerusalem and Ankara thaw.

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