Upcoming Trials

Journalism and free speech trials: Week of February 22

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

23 February Tuesday

  • Fourth hearing of the trial where Mesopotamia Agency (MA) reporter Ruken Demir faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges based on phone conversations with her news sources will be held at İzmir 19th High Criminal Court this week. Ruken Demir was arrested on November 26, 2019 and was released pending trial during the first hearing.
  • The trial where exiled artist Ferhat Tunç faces “insulting the president” charges for ten tweets he had posted in 2016 will resume at Büyükçekmece 14th Criminal Court of the First Instance this week.
  • Trial where journalists Ali Açar, Canan Coşkun and Cansever Uğur face “disclosing or publishing the identities of state officials on anti-terror duty and/or identifying them as targets” charge will resume at İstanbul 34th High Criminal Court this week. Journalists Açar and Coşkun are on trial for a news report published in Cumhuriyet daily on 11 March 2016 titled “Cop who allegedly shot Berkin Elvan did not remember his place of duty” and Uğur for another new report published on BirGün’s website titled “Reason of the confidentiality order in Berkin investigation: Not to defame the murderer.” 
  • First hearing of the trial where journalist Abdurrahman Gök faces “membership in a terrorist organization” and “making terror propaganda” charges will be held at Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court this week. Gök faces up to 20 years in prison for his phone conversations with news sources, social media posts, and the content of his reporting. 

24 February Wednesday

  • First hearing of the trial where journalist Hakkı Boltan faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will be held at Diyarbakır 10th High Criminal Court this week. Free Journalists’ Initiative (ÖGİ) spokesperson is indicted as part of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) investigations launched in Diyarbakır in October 2018. Evidence presented against Boltan include his name being mentioned on a list of delegates confiscated at the DTK building during a raid, the fact that he was a delegate, two DTK press release events he attended as a reporter, and one social media post.
  • Fourth hearing of the trial where journalist Erhan Akbaş faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will be held at Van 7th High Criminal Court this week. Akbaş is among 8 defendants and is charged for his municipal work he conducted while he had a seat at the Erciş Municipality Council. Secret witness statements, police investigation records and tapes of their phone conversations are used as evidence against the defendants. The prosecutor presented the final opinion as to the accusations during the previous hearing and demanded Akbaş’s acquittal.
  • Nineteenth hearing of the trial where since shut Özgür Gündem daily’s former Co-Editor-in-Chief Hüseyin Aykol, former Managing Editor Reyhan Çapan and contributors İslam Tüner, Lütfi Yavuzaslan, Methi Kaya, Hasan Başak and Kemal Yakut face “terrorist propaganda,” “provoking to commit a crime” and “praising an offense or an offender” charges because of Özgür Gündem’s reporting on “self-governance” in Kurdish provinces in March 2016 will resume at İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court.

25 February Thursday

  • Trial where exiled artist Ferhat Tunç faces up to 20 years in prison for “membership in a terrorist organization” and “making terrorist propaganda” charges will resume at Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court this week.
  • Fifth hearing of the trial where journalist Rüstem Batum faces “insulting the President” and “inciting the public to hatred” charges for 20 tweets he had posted between 2016 – 2018 will be held at Istanbul 5th Criminal Court this week. MLSA will represent Batum in court.

26 February Friday

  • Fourth hearing of the trial where 38 people including journalists Mustafa Sönmez, Sedef Kabaş, Merdan Yanardağ a Bloomberg Business reporters Kerim Karakaya and Fercan Yalınkılıç are accused of sharing “false, wrong, or deceptive information” to affect the markets for their reporting will resume at İstanbul 3rd Criminal Court of First Instance. The criminal investigation was launched following Turkey’s banking regulator agency BDDK’s complaint and finance reporting & social media posts criticizing the government’s financial policies are considered evidence for “defying the capital markets law.”