Northern Cyprus: criminal charges against President of Cyprus Turkish union must be dropped
The NUJ is supporting calls by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists, for criminal charges against Ali Kişmir to be dropped.
President of the Cyprus Turkish Journalists’ Union, Basin-Sen, and columnist for the newspaper Özgür Gazete Kıbrıs, Ali Kişmir faces a ten year sentence on charges brought for violating article 26 of the Military Crime and Penalty Law. These charges relate to an opinion piece he wrote over a year ago, where he is accused of "insulting and mocking the security forces".
The board of Basin-Sen has strongly criticised the actions of authorities ahead of Kişmir's court appearance next week, stating freedom of thought and expression should not be grounds for prosecution.
Anthony Bellanger, IFJ general secretary, said:
"These criminal proceedings initiated by the security forces are a threat to all Cypriot journalists. This is an intolerable act of intimidation, which we strongly denounce."
Ricardo Gutiérrez, EFJ general secretary, said:
"With these totally disproportionate criminal proceedings, the Turkish Cypriot authorities are violating European legal standards of press freedom and freedom of expression. Together with members of our affiliate Basin-Sen, we demand the immediate withdrawal of the charges against Ali Kişmir."