Journalist Ayşenur Parıldak was sentenced to 7 years plus 6 months in prison on charges of membership to a terrorist organization.
Parıldak, a 27-year-old reporter from the now-closed Zaman daily, appeared before an Ankara court for her final hearing on Tuesday. Under arrest since Aug. 11, 2016, Parildak denied having used ByLock mobile app, one of the accusations raised against her.
“The only offence I was involved in is to work for Zaman newspaper. I wish I had not. All the leading figures from the newspaper went abroad tweeting about press freedom. I demand my acquittal and release,” Parildak said.
“I want to be acquitted. I am so exhausted,” she said as her last words.
The court initially ruled to sentence Parildak to 9 years of imprisonment, which was later reduced to 7.5 years, on charges of membership to the alleged Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETO).
Parildak was taken back to the Silivri Prison.
Turkish authorities believe ByLock indicates links to the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding the abortive coup last year, and calls it FETO while the movement denies coup and terror charges. Zaman newspaper was earlier shut down over ties to the movement, under the government’s post-coup emergency rule.
In October 2016, Parıldak wrote a letter to Cumhuriyet from Silivri Prison, talking about solitary confinement and sexual harassment, which led to a ban on letters being sent from that prison.
She was released by the court on May 2, 2017 but was later rearrested by the same court before being freed since a prosecutor objected to the initial ruling.
The Oslo-based Vigdis Freedom Foundation (VFF) awarded Parildak with its inaugural Shahnoush courage award in September, this year.