Upcoming Trials

Journalism and free speech trials: Week of February 24

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

25 February Tuesday

  • Sixth hearing of the trial where 22 Özgür Gündem 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
  • 18th hearing of the KCK Press trial where 46 journalists face terror-related charges, which has been dragging for the past 7 years, will take place at İstanbul 3rd High Criminal Court this week. 32 journalists out of the 46 who were taken into custody on December 20, 2011 were arrested on December 24 as part of an operation towards Kurdish media including Dicle News Agency, Özgür Gündem, Azadiya Welat, Demokratik Modernite and Fırat Distribution Inc. Interviews, photos, press briefs that they attended, correspondence with news resources and many other journalistic activities were used as evidence against them in the indictment. 
  • Elventh hearing of the trial where 27 defendants including journalist and translator Meşale Tolu face “membership in a terrorist organization” and “terrorist propaganda” charges will take place at Istanbul 29th High Criminal Court.

26 February Wednesday

  • Appeal hearing of journalist Faruk Arhan will be held at İstanbul Appeal Court’s 3rd Criminal Chamber this week. Arhan was previously tried and acquitted of “insulting the President” charges; however, Erdoğan’s lawyers have appealed the decision demanding Arhan’s acquittal to be overturned. 
  • Second hearing of the trial where where former German Green Party MP Memet Kılıç faces “insulting the President” charges will begin before Ankara 36th Criminal Court of First Instance this week. Kılıç, whom Media and Law Studies Association represents in court, faces this charge based on an interview he gave to online news portal ABC on July 12, 2017, which was published with the title “Charge of Genocide against Erdoğan: The Banana Republic treatment.” 

27 February Thursday

  • Seventh hearing of the 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 take place 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.
  • First hearing of the trial where journalist Sultan Çoban faces “terrorist propaganda” charges based on a single Facebook post will be held at Konya 8th High Criminal Court this week. Danish citizen Çoban currently writes for Copenhagen-based newspaper Berlingske and is represented by Media and Law Studies Association in court. 

28 February Friday

  • First hearing of the trial where journalist Mehmet Erol is charged with “terrorist propaganda” will be held at Diyarbakır 10th High Criminal Court this week. Erol, whom MLSA represents in court, is accused based on tweets that were posted from Democratic Regions Party’s (DBP) official Twitter account, where he used to work as a press consultant, and his personal account between 2013 – 2015.