Upcoming Trials

Journalism and free speech trials: Week of January 6

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

8 January Wednesday

  • First hearing of the trial where Mesopotamia Agency (MA) reporter Arjin Dilek Öncel faces “terrorist propaganda” charges will be held at Diyarbakır 11th High Criminal Court this week. Öncel faces the charge for a single Facebook post, in which she shared a Mesopotamia Agency news report.
  • First hearing of the trial where former Dicle News Agency (DİHA) reporter İdris Sayılğan faces “terrorist propaganda” charges will be held at Muş 2nd High Criminal Court this week. Journalist Sayılğan, whom MLSA represents in court, faces the charge for seven photos he had posted on Facebook between Aug 2015 – March 2016. Sayılğan was handed down an 8 year and 3 month prison sentence by the same court on 25 January 2019 and was released from prison after more than three years behind bars on 27 November 2019 following an appeal court judgement. 
  • 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.”

9 January Thursday

  • First hearing of the trial where Cumhuriyet reporter Seyhan Avşar faces “identifying a public officer as a target for terrorist organizations” charges for a news story published on 5 March 2019 titled “Sözcü prosecutor has a criminal record” will be held at İstanbul 27th High Criminal Court
  • Second hearing of the trial where Yeni Yaşam newspaper’s former Managing Editor Osman Akın faces “publicly denigrating the Turkish state and its military and law enforcement” charges per Turkish Penal Code’s notorious Article 301 for a news report that was published in the newspaper on March 1st, 2019 titled “Prisoners from Afrin face torture” will be held at İstanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance.
  • Fourth hearing of the trial where Cumhuriyet reporter Alican Uludağ and Cumhuriyet’s diplomacy reporter at the time Duygu Güvenç face “publicly denigrating the Turkish state and its judicial institutions” (Article 301) charges for their news story on Pastor Andrew Brunson titled “While the hostage diplomacy collapses” will be held at İstanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance.