Case Monitoring

Court rules to issue writ requesting Deniz Yücel’s defense be taken via letters rogatory

İstanbul – Trial where PEN Germany President and Die Welt reporter Deniz Yücel, whom Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) defends, faces charges of “insulting the president” and “publicly degrading the Turkish nation, state government and the state’s judicial bodies” resumed at İstanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance today. The court ruled to issue a writ requesting to take Yücel’s defense statement via letters rogatory from his country of residence; hearing was adjourned until April 12, 2022.

Yücel, who lives in Germany, did not attend the hearing whereas his lawyer Veysel Ok was present in the courtroom. Press members and observers were not allowed to enter the courtroom because due to pandemic precautions. The hearing began with the reading of the minutes of the previous hearing, as the judge was replaced by a new one. 

Lawyer Ok was the first to speak at the hearing, he requested the issuing of a writ for taking Yücel’s defense statement. The prosecution requested the completion of the missing documents in the case file. 

The newly appointed judge, Ali Çalı, ruled to issue a writ requesting Yücel’s statement to be taken via letters rogatory, and adjourned the hearing until April 12, 2022. 

Case background

On July 16, 2020, Yücel was acquitted of “inciting the public to hatred and hostility” while being sentenced to 2 years and 9 months in prison for “making propaganda for a terrorist organization.” 

Alongside the verdict, the Istanbul 32nd High Criminal Court had ruled to file additional lawsuits against journalist Deniz Yücel for “insulting the President” [Art. 299 of the Turkish Penal Code] and “publicly degrading the Turkish Nation, State of the Turkish Republic, the Government of the Republic of Turkey and the judicial bodies” [Art. 301 of the Turkish Penal Code] charges based on three separate articles he penned for Die Welt in late 2016. An article that included an anecdotal story with the punchline “don’t let the Kurd see their mother before they die” and another including the phrase “genocide committed against Armenians” were considered to be sufficient to file a criminal complaint pursuant to Article 301, which turned into a lawsuit was in April.

The indictment, which was accepted by the Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance, noted that the court that had tried Yücel filed a criminal complaint on September 11, 2020 and that the Ministry of Justice granted the permission to prosecute journalist Yücel per Article 301 on March 11, 2021.  The prosecution requests up to two years imprisonment for Yücel.