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Turkey jails five journalists for 'terrorist propaganda'

Five reporters and editors were convicted of writing 'terrorist propaganda' for outlawed Kurdish PKK group
Protesters chant 'journalism is not a crime' outside a Turkish court (AFP)

Five journalists were handed jail terms by a court in Istanbul on Tuesday after a trial in which they were accused of taking part in "terrorist propaganda," Turkish media reported. 

Four of those condemned received 18-month sentences for participating in a solidarity campaign with the now-defunct pro-Kurd daily Ozgur Gundem, according to the private Dogan news agency. 

The paper's editor-in-chief, Huseyin Akyol, was given three years and nine months behind bars, Dogan said, adding that the court noted a "lack of remorse" during his trial. 

The five media workers, who weren't in court on Tuesday, stood accused of participating in "terrorist propaganda" on behalf of the banned Kurdish Worker's Party (PKK).

The five journalists sentenced on Tuesday are currently at liberty pending confirmation of the verdict on appeal, the media watchdog Reporters Without Borders said.

According to the P24 press freedom website, there are 151 journalists in Turkish prisons, most of whom were detained under the state of emergency imposed after 2016's attempted coup.

Last week, Turkish penal courts decided to keep two Reuters journalists in detention, state-run news agency Anadolu said, hours after a top court had requested they be released because their rights had been violated while in custody.

Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay, jailed for more than a year amid large-scale purges of the media and state institutions after a failed 2016 coup, were accused of links to terrorist groups and attempting to overthrow the government, charges they deny.