Court repeals closure ruling for Kurdish paper

Court repeals closure ruling for Kurdish paper

Pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party deputy Gülten Kışanak holds a copy of the Özgür Gündem daily during a protest in İstanbul on March 25, 2012. (Photo: AA)

March 30, 2012, Friday/ 12:06:00

A court ruling to suspend the publication of the pro-Kurdish Özgür Gündem (Free Agenda) newspaper for an entire month has been repealed after lawyers for the paper appealed the decision.

Last week, the İstanbul 14th Criminal Court ordered Özgür Gündem suspend publishing the paper for a month, citing the “dissemination of propaganda for a terrorist organization” in its March 24 edition. The phrase terrorist organization refers to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Earlier this week, Özgür Gündem lawyers appealed the ruling. The same panel of judges then agreed to repeal the original ruling. The new decision was announced on Friday.

Özgür Gündem's predecessors have been shut down several times before and the newspaper has had to change names frequently.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told journalists while on his way to Tehran from Seoul that he was against shutting down any organization, be it a political party or newspaper. He said individuals should be held responsible for violations of the law, not entire organizations. Erdoğan said it was not only anti-democratic to shut down organizations, but also futile, as such agencies tend to simply re-open under a new name.

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