Seyithan Akyüz, Azadiya Welat
Imprisoned:December 7, 2009

Akyüz, Adana correspondent for the Kurdish-language daily Azadiya Welat (Homeland's Freedom) was serving a 12-year term at Ceyhan M Type Closed Prison in Adana, according to a list of imprisoned journalists provided by the Turkish Justice Ministry in November 2013 at CPJ's request.

Akyüz was initially charged with aiding the banned Union of Communities in Kurdistan, or KCK, an umbrella group of pro-Kurdish organizations that includes the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK. Authorities cited as evidence his possession of banned newspapers and his presence at a May Day demonstration in Izmir. He was later convicted of membership in an armed terrorist organization, the PKK.

Authorities publicly claim that the pro-Kurdish media are aligned with the PKK and the KCK. The government says the journalists produce propaganda in favor of the banned organizations.

A 2012 trial in Adana made national news when the judge refused to allow Akyüz and other defendants to offer statements in their native Kurdish. A June 2014 report by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe also found that court officials withheld case documents from Akyüz's lawyer for more than a year.

In late 2015 Akyüz was waiting for Turkey's Constitutional Court to decide whether it would hear an appeal in his case, Hürrem Sönmez, a Turkish attorney who represents CPJ before the Turkish Justice Ministry, said. CPJ was unable to determine the prisoner's health in 2015.

This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.