Upcoming Trials

Journalism and free speech trials: Week of February 15

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

15 February Monday

  • 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.

16 February Tuesday

  • Trial where Turkish Medical Association Chair and human rights defender Şebnem Korur Fincancı is accused of insulting Erdoğan based on a tweet she had posted during Gezi Protests in 2013 while he was the PM will resume at Anadolu 42nd Criminal Court of First Instance this week.
  • Second hearing of the re-trial where Azadiya Welat newspaper’s former Managing Editor İsmail Çoban faces “consecutively making terror propaganda” charges due to 15 news articles and columns published in 9 different copies of the newspaper will be held at Diyarbakır 7th High Criminal Court this week. Çoban was initially sentenced to five years in prison in this case but an appellate court overturned the conviction last year, demanding Çoban to be tried again.
  • Trial where Etkin News Agency (ETHA) reporter Ali Sönmez Kayar faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will resume at İstanbul 32nd High Criminal Court this week.
  • Seventh hearing of the trial where since shuttered Diyarbakır-based Özgür Gün TV’s former staffer Barış Barıştıran faces “terror propaganda” charges for live broadcasting the General Assembly of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) which was held in Diyarbakır in March 2016 will be held at Diyarbakır 8th High Criminal Court this week.
  • Eighth hearing of the trial where 22 journalists who were taken into custody while the police was raiding Özgür Gündem daily’s office on 16 June 2016 are tried on charges of “resisting a public official to prevent them from performing their duty” and “libel” will be held at İstanbul 5th Criminal Court of the First Instance

17 February Wednesday

  • Twelfth hearing of the trial where 8 people including journalist  Kenan Kırkaya face “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will resume at Ankara 32nd High Criminal Court this week.  The indictment lists secret witness testimonies, working for since shuttered Dicle News Agency (DİHA), and Kırkaya’s news show titled “Looking at Ankara” for Nûçe TV as evidence for membership in a terrorist organization. 
  • Third hearing of the trial where former President of the Diyarbakır Bar Association Ahmet Özmen and 10 Executive Board members face degrading the Turkish nation, state of the Turkish republic, the organs and institutions of the state and provoking the public to hatred and hostility charges for the Bar’s official 24 April Armenian Genocide Remembrance day statements from 2017 and 2018 will be held at Diyarbakır 13th High Criminal Court this week. Former Bar President Ahmet Özmen and former Executive Board members Sertaç Buluttekin, Serhat Eren, Nahit Eren, Mahsum Batı, Nuşin Uysal Ekinci, Cihan Ülsen, Muhammet Neşet Girasun, İmran Gökdere, Velat Alan and Ahmet Dağ face these charges for 24 April statements as well as a report documenting the use of military drones in Hakkari, which was prepared by the Diyarbakır Bar.
  • Fourth hearing of the trial where Adıyaman-based local newspaper Gerger Fırat’s News Manager Özgür Boğatekin and columnist Hacı Boğatekin are accused of “slander” will be held at Gerger Criminal Court of First Instance. Journalists face this charge for a news report published in the newspaper on May 10, 2011 titled “Allegation of Torture by the Gendarmerie” and a column Hacı Boğatekin penned on May 13, 2011 on the matter. Journalists are accused of slandering the gendarmerie sergeant who allegedly punched a citizen and caused him to have a cardiac arrest. 

18 February Thursday

  • Trial where 23 defendants including Etkin News Agency (ETHA) editor İsminaz Temel and reporter Havva Cuştan face “membership in a terrorist organization” and “terrorist propaganda” charges will resume at the İstanbul 27th High Criminal Court. Temel had been released during the fourth hearing following a 16-month detainment. 
  • Third hearing of the trial where Sözcü columnist journalist Çiğdem Toker is sued by T3 Foundation with a request of 80k TRY will be held at Küçükçekmece 3rd Civil Court of First Instance this week. Toker is sued for a column she penned on İstanbul Municipality funding pro-government foundations, which was published in Sözcü daily on 28 January 2019. 
  • Fourth hearing of the re-trial where imprisoned journalist and novelist Ahmet Altan is accused of insulting the Supreme Court of Appeals Prosecutor in a column published in Taraf daily on Mar 16, 2008 will be held at Anadolu 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance this week.