Turkish journalists sentenced over Charlie Hebdo cover

AP News
Posted: Apr 28, 2016 11:22 AM

ISTANBUL (AP) — A court in Istanbul on Thursday sentenced two journalists from a pro-opposition newspaper to two years in prison for publishing French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo's controversial cover featuring a Prophet Muhammad cartoon, amid rising concerns about freedom of expression in Turkey.

The court convicted Cumhuriyet newspaper columnists Ceyda Karan and Hikmet Cetinkaya of inciting "hatred and enmity." It, however, acquitted them of the separate charges of "insulting religious values."

The journalists' lawyers immediately appealed the verdict, Cetinkaya told The Associated Press.

Cumhuriyet had printed a selection of cartoons and articles in a show of solidarity with Charlie Hebdo following last year's deadly attack on the magazine's Paris offices.

The four-page Cumhuriyet pullout didn't feature the controversial cover, but the two journalists included images of it in their columns in the same edition, in an act of support to freedom of expression.

Cetinkaya said he doesn't regret printing the cartoon and criticized the court's decision.

"As a result, freedom of expression took a hit," he said.