Upcoming Trials

Journalism and free speech trials: Week of December 21

This week several journalism and freedom of expression trials will resume at courts. Below is a list of this week’s hearings:

22 December Tuesday

  • Trial where Etkin News Agency (ETHA) editor Semiha Şahin and reporter Pınar Gayıp face “membership in a terrorist organization” and “making terrorist propaganda” charges will resume at İstanbul 23rd High Criminal Court. Şahin and Gayıp were released with judicial control measures and house arrest following a 14-month detainment during the previous hearing, which was held on June 13, 2019. Their house arrest was lifted during the hearing held on December 11, 2019. 
  • Journalist Pelin Ünker and Orhan Erinç, Chairman of the Cumhuriyet Foundation’s Executive Board at the time will appear before the İstanbul 21st Civil Court of First Instance for the sixth hearing of the trial where they’re sued for Ünker’s reporting on Paradise Papers. Ünker and Erinç were sued by Çalık Holding for Cumhuriyet’s Paradise Papers reporting where Ünker mentioned the Albayraks’ off-shore accounts from the time when they were executives of the company. 
  • Fourth hearing of the trial where former Dicle News Agency (DİHA) reporter Mazlum Dolan faces “membership in a terror organization” charges will be held at Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court this week.
  • Second hearing of the trial where Adıyaman-based local newspaper Gerger Fırat’s News Manager Özgür Boğatekin faces “terror propaganda” and “disclosing or publishing the identities of state officials on anti-terror duty and/or identifying them as targets” charges for a Facebook post from 2017 will be held at Adıyaman 2nd High Criminal Court. Boğatekin stands trial for sharing the video of gendarmerie sergeant S.Ç.’s argument with HDP Tunceli MP Alican Önlü on Facebook. 

23 December Wednesday

  • Trial where Cumhuriyet daily’s former Editor-in-Chief Can Dündar faces “securing information that, due to its nature, must be kept confidential for reasons relating to the security or domestic or foreign political interests of the state for the purposes of espionage” and “aiding and abetting a terrorist organization” charges for publishing the news report on National Intelligence Organization’s (MİT) 18-wheeler trucks carrying weapons across the border will resume at İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court. The prosecutor demanded up to 35 years in prison for Dündar in the previous hearing.
  • Sixth hearing of the trial where former Dicle News Agency (DİHA) reporter Mehmet Sait Değer faces “terror propaganda” charges will be held at Batman 3rd High Criminal Court this week.

24 December Thursday

  • The “Özgür Gündem main trial” where 4 people including since shut-down Özgür Gündem daily’s writers and executive staff face “disrupting the unity and integrity of the state,” “establishing an organization for the purpose of committing crimes,” and “terrorist propaganda” charges will resume at İstanbul 23rd High Criminal Court this week. This will be the first hearing of Zana Bilir Kaya, İnan Kızılkaya, Kemal Sancılı and Eren Keskin under a separate case-file, which was separated during the previous hearing on February 14, 2020. Necmiye Alpay, Aslı Erdoğan and Bilge Aykut were acquitted during that hearing.
  • Trial where journalist Can Dündar and since shuttered Özgür Gündem newspaper’s former Managing Editor İnan Kızılkaya face “publishing and disseminating the declarations of a terrorist organization” charges will resume at İstanbul 22nd High Criminal Court this week. Dündar stands trial for having participated in the “Editors-in-Chief on Watch” campaign launched in solidarity with Özgür Gündem in 2016.
  • Second hearing of the trial where the Human Rights Association (İHD) Co-Chair and human rights defender Eren Keskin faces “making terrorist propaganda” charges for her social media posts from five years ago will be held at İstanbul 36th High Criminal Court this week. 
  • Trial where Free Journalists Initiative (ÖGİ) spokesperson Hakkı Boltan faces “insulting the president” charges will be held at Diyarbakır 12th Criminal Court of First Instance this week. Boltan faces these charges for a press statement he made about Azadiya Welat newspaper’s Managing Editor Rohat Aktaş, who was stuck in the basement of a building during the curfews that were announced in Cizre in 2016. 
  • Trial where Vice News reporters Philip John Pendlebury and Philip Gingell Hanrahan face “membership in a terrorist organization by willingly and knowingly aiding and abetting, “terrorist propaganda, and “opposing the Law on the Prevention of Financing of Terrorism” will resume at Diyarbakır 8th High Criminal Court this week. Pendlebury and Hanrahan were arrested in Diyarbakır in September 2015 and were deported shortly. 
  • Trial where Kurdish newspaper Xwebun columnist and Kurdish linguist Mehmet Şahin faces “founding and managing a terrorist organization” charges for his activities within Democratic Society Congress (DTK) will resume at Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court this week.