Upcoming Trials

Journalism and free speech trials: Week of January 25

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

25 January Monday

  • Trial where journalist Durket Süren faces “aiding and abetting a terrorist organization” and “terrorist propaganda” charges will resume at Diyarbakır 4th High Criminal Court this week. Journalist Süren was taken in police custody on March 1, 2019 in Diyarbakır’s Lice district while she was reporting. The indictment against Süren presents her twitter posts, phone recordings, her selling copies of Azadiya Welat and Özgür Gündem newspapers and her TV program titled “Women’s Perspective” from April 11, 2017 as evidence for “terrorist propaganda.” 
  • Third hearing of the trial where media critic and writer Deniz Gedizlioğlu is accused of insulting actor Talat Bulut will be held at Anadolu 1st Criminal Court of First Instance. Complainant Talat Bulut claims that Gedizlioğlu “insulted him in order to gain fame” in a critical article published on the Turkish TV show “Yasak Elma,” where Bulut was the lead actor.

26 January Tuesday

  • Cumhuriyet reporter Hazal Ocak and the newspaper’s publisher Alev Coşkun will appear before the İstanbul Anadolu 14th Civil Court of First Instance for the trial where they’re sued for a news story published on 6 October 2019 titled “Luxury fixture with a view of the Bosphorus” with Ocak’s signature. Ocak and Coşkun were sued by Cengiz Conglomerate’s Mehmet Cengiz with a request of 1 million Turkish Liras, claiming that “his reputation was tarnished.”
  • Trial where Etkin News Agency (ETHA) Managing Editor Derya Okatan faces “insult” charges will resume at İstanbul 39th Criminal Court of First Instance this week. Okatan is accused of insulting lawyer Onur Kale based on news reports published on ETHA’s web site that list Kale’s name as one of the people who sexually assaulted 8 women from Mersin Platform for Women while they were in police custody. 
  • Trial where since shuttered TV10’s former cameraman Kemal Demir and staffer Kemal Karagöz face “aiding and abetting a terrorist organization without being a member” charges will be held at Istanbul 28th High Criminal Court. Demir was released from prison in the previous hearing after a detention period of over a year.

27 January Wednesday

  • Trial where HDP Diyarbakır Branch’s Press Consultant Vedat Dağ faces “membership in a terrorist organization” and “terror propaganda” charges resumes at Diyarbakır 11th High Criminal Court this week. Vedat Dağ faces this charge for attending HDP events as a press member and sharing about these events on his social media. Dağ is also indicted based on secret witness testimonies alleging that he is part of KCK Press Committee operations.
  • Second hearing of the trial where journalists İdris Sayılğan and Naci Kaya are charged with “trespassing a military zone” will be held at Edirne 8th Criminal Court this week. Mesopotamia News Agency reporter Sayılğan, whom MLSA represents in court, was detained on Feb 29, 2020 while reporting on the refugees crossing Turkey’s Greek border in Edirne’s Pazarkule district after Turkey’s statement on opening its borders to Europe. Sayılğan was released on March 3, 2020.

28 January Thursday 

  • Second hearing of the trial where journalist and author Faik Bulut faces “founding and managing a terrorist organization” charges will be held at Diyarbakır 4th High Criminal Court this week. Bulut faces this charge for attending meetings and workshops organized by Democratic Society Congress (DTK) as well as one demonstration organized in Diyarbakır. In the first hearing, the prosecutor demanded up to 15 years in prison for Bulut for “membership in a terrorist organization” charges.

29 January Friday 

  • Trial where journalist Rüstem Batum faces “publicly denigrating the state’s military and law enforcement personnel” charges pursuant to Turkish Penal Code’s notorious Article 301 will resume at İstanbul 43rd Criminal Court of First Instance. Batum, whom MLSA represents in court, faces this charge for statements he made during a TV appearance on journalist Ayşegül Doğan’s programme on İMC TV in September 2015. 
  • Trial where Van TV staffers Gülsün Altan, Gürcan Bayrakçı, Kadir Cesur, Koçali Özipek, Nahide Aslan, Nedim Dalga, Serdar Altan and Sibel Eres face “terrorist propaganda” charges for various news bulletins broadcast by the TV channel between February – May 2016 will resume at Van 4th High Criminal Court this week.