Upcoming Trials

Journalism and free speech trials: Week of December 7

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

7 December Monday

  • Trial where journalist Ferhat Parlak faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will resume at Diyarbakır 10th High Criminal Court. Parlak was taken into custody on April 10th, 2018 and a judgeship had ruled for his arrest on April 13th, 2018. The indictment against journalist Parlak was submitted almost a year after his arrest, on March 25th, 2019. Parlak was released on July 8 during the first hearing of his trial, where he appeared before a court for the first time since he was detained.
  • Trial where since shut-down İMC TV’s Program Coordinator Ayşegül Doğan faces “founding and managing an armed organization” charges for her journalistic activities including meetings and interviews with Democratic Society Congress (DTK) executives and events that she attended as a journalist will resume at Diyarbakır 9th High Criminal Court. The prosecutor demands up to 22.5 years in prison for Doğan. 
  • Trial where journalist İdris Yılmaz faces “inciting the public to hatred and animosity” charges for a single social media post from January 2018 criticizing Turkish military’s operation in Afrin, Syria will resume at Erciş 1st Criminal Court of First Instance this week. The court had ceased prosecution in order to seek permission of the Ministry of Justice for prosecuting Yılmaz with “denigrating the Turkish nation” charges per Turkish Penal Code’s notorious Article 301. The Ministry rejected this request; thus, the trial will resume per the initial charge.   

8 December Tuesday

  • The trial where complainant Justice and Development Party (AKP) Bursa MP Efkan Ala accuses former aktifhaber.com Editor-in-Chief Yetkin Yıldız of  “slander” and “libel” will resume before the Bakırköy 31st Criminal Court of First Instance. Evidence against Yıldız consists of news reports on tweets that are posted from the anonymous twitter account called Fuat Avni.
  • Trial where journalist Rıfat Doğan is accused of allegedly video-recording at the courtroom during the hearing of the Çorlu high-speed train accident trial where victims’ relatives weren’t allowed inside will resume at Çorlu 4th Criminal Court of First Instance.
  • Third hearing of the trial where journalist Mazlum Dolan faces “membership in a terror organization” charges will be held at Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court this week.

9 December Wednesday

  • The trial of since shut Taraf newspaper’s former administrators Ahmet Altan, Yasemin Çongar and Yıldıray Oğur, reporter Mehmet Baransu, and Aktüel reporter Tuncay Opçin will resume at İstanbul 13rd High Criminal Court this week. The defendants face “disclosing information or documents that, due to their nature, must be kept confidential for reasons relating to the security, or domestic or foreign political interests of the State” charges for Taraf’s reporting on “operation Balyoz,” an alleged Turkish secularist coup plan.
  • First hearing of the trial where lawyer and human rights defender Nurcan Kaya faces “consecutively making terror propaganda” charges for her Twitter posts will be held at Diyarbakır 9th High Criminal Court this week.  
  • First hearing of the trial where journalist Nurcan Yalçın faces “membership in a terrorist organization” and “making terror propaganda” charges will be held at Diyarbakır 9th High Criminal Court this week. Yalçın was indicted as part of the investigation launched against Rosa Women’s Association, a Diyarbakır-based civil society organization founded in December 2018. Evidence presented against Yalçın include a secret witness statement claiming that she is a “senior authority” of the Rosa association and documents confiscated while the association’s headquarters were raided. 

10 December Thursday

  • Fourth hearing of the trial where journalists Aziz Oruç and Ersin Çaksu face “denigrating the Turkish nation” charges per Turkish Penal Code’s notorious Article 301 for various news stories published in Özgürlükçü Demokrasi newspaper between October 21 – November 1, 2016 will be held at İstanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance. Journalists Oruç and Çaksu were tried alongside Selman Keleş, Özgür Paksoy, Kenan Kırkaya, İshak Yasul and Ersin Çaksu in this trial. Five other defendants were each sentenced to 5 months in prison per “denigrating the Turkish nation” charges, their sentences were suspended. Oruç and Çaksu’s files were separated since their testimonies were not taken at the time.  
  • The trial where journalist Arif Aslan faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will resume at Van 5th High Criminal Court. Aslan and since shuttered Dicle News Agency reporter Selman Keleş were arrested on 30 March 2017 while taking photos near Van Municipality building as terror suspects and were released during the first hearing of their trial, which was held on 21 November 2017. Although Aslan and Keleş were tried in the same court case Keleş’s file was separated during the eighth hearing which was held on Sept 3, 2020 due to him being abroad.

11 December Friday

  • Eighth hearing of the trial where journalist Mehmet Çakmakçı faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will be held at Diyarbakır 10th High Criminal Court this week. Çakmakçı was taken in police custody while law enforcement raided his home on July 4, 2017 and was released on October 18, 2017. His conversations with news sources and photos he took while reporting are presented as evidence against him and the prosecution demands up to 15 years in prison for him.