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Turkey: prison for a journalist to Paradise-Papers-Research

A Turkish court has sentenced a journalist to a prison sentence. They had been sued from the Ex-Prime Minister Yildirim. His sons are supposed to have used companies in tax havens.

The Turkish journalist Pelin Ünker has been sentenced in Istanbul to a prison and a monetary penalty. Base your reports on tax avoidance in the context of "the Paradise Papers". In the Wake of the revelations Ünker had reported in the fall of 2017 for the daily newspaper "Cumhuriyet", among other things, that the sons of the former Turkish Prime Minister, Binali Yildirim, companies in a tax used oasis for all your activities.

Ünker, who is a member of the International consortium of Investigative journalists (ICIJ), reported at the time about companies that had donated to the entrepreneurs Yildirim and his sons, when he went into politics. These companies in the shipping industry had registered, among other things, tax-effective subsidiaries on Malta, as the Paradise Papers was and how "Cumhuriyet" reported.

The port of the Maltese capital, Valetta. The island is still considered as a tax haven.

"This is an attack on journalism"

Five companies of the family Yildirim can be directly allocated to, a further eight are in direct connection to their group of companies. This was from the huge data set of "the Paradise Papers" that had been playing the "süddeutsche Zeitung" and the Reporter of the NDR and WDR had evaluated.

After the publication of the research, the Yildirim's against Ünker filed a lawsuit for defamation and insult - and not, for example, because the reporting by the journalist is factually incorrect. The judges gave the Yildirim's right: insult, the journalist was sentenced to a fine of the equivalent of about 1400 Euro, and - because of the Accusation of defamation - to imprisonment for a period of one year and one and a half months. The prison sentence is suspended.

Ünker said the NDR today: "The decision surprised me, the result was already clear. This is an attack on journalism. Decisions like these serve the purpose of intimidation of reporters." Their reports satisfied the alleged offence, not stocks.

profile image of the Turkish journalist Pelin Ünker on Twitter. Ünker said: "These sentences bring journalists to Silence. We will continue to report."

a lawyer wants to appeal

Ünkers lawyer Abbas Yalcin said the NDR: "We are about the decision very sad. Globally, there were reports of more than one hundred politicians. 96 media around the world have worked on these Reports. Only against Pelin Ünker have been taken to court and only Pelin Ünker has to get a penalty. This shows how bad it is to the freedom of expression in Turkey."

Yalcin announced, opposition to a higher court of appeal. The verdict of justification is not the lawyer yet. It is therefore not clear to which passages from Ünkers reporting the judges refer in their judgment, specifically.

Yildirim, until July of 2018, Turkey's Prime Minister and Parliament today, speaker. At the end of March, elections will be held in Turkey municipal, Binal Yilderim will be running as mayor of Istanbul.

The court sentence against the journalist could help to refute the accusations against the politician. "We find that the decision came very quickly and is unfair," said lawyer Yalcin. The court itself was not reached for comment.

Yildirim (right) is regarded as a Confidant of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (right). Both of the AKP party.

Turkey is the "the biggest prison in the world"

In "the Paradise Papers“ had appeared the names of about 75 Turkish businessmen and politicians. Also about the brother of the son of Erdogan, the entrepreneur Serhat Albayrak, the son-in-law Ünker and her colleagues reported. Albayraks family also complained against the reporting. In this procedure, a ruling is expected in February.

in the past year, the organization "reporters without borders," Turkey as "the biggest prison in the world for professional journalists".

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