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Turkey28 June 2002

Fikret Baskaya released from prison

Reporters Without Borders welcomes the release from jail on 28 June of university teacher Fikret Baskaya, a columnist on the pro-Kurd daily paper Özgür Bakis, but strongly regrets it did not come sooner in response to pressure by his lawyers.

Baskaya had been held in Ankara’s Kalecik prison since 29 June last year. He was sentenced on 1 January last year to 16 months in jail and fined 1.066 billion Turkish pounds (_855) for "separatist propaganda." The sentence was confirmed by the supreme court.

He had written in a 1 June 1999 article in the paper headed "Is this a historic trial?" that "Turkish leaders have always considered the Kurdish problem as a public order issue, while in fact it is a national problem. They have thought they could solve it by chauvinistic, racist and nationalist policies."                  

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