Upcoming Trials

Journalism and free speech trials: Week of March 29

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

30 March Tuesday

  • Trial where author Temel Demirer faces “praising an offence and the offender ” charges for a speech he gave during a Suruç massacre commemoration that was held in Kadıköy on July 20th, 2017 will resume at Anadolu 33rd Criminal Court of First Instance in Kartal, İstanbul. 

31 March Wednesday

  • Second hearing of the retrial of journalists Ahmet Memiş, Ali Akkuş, Atilla Taş, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, Ünal Tanık, Yakup Çetin and Yetkin Yıldız for what is known by the public as the “FETÖ media trial” will begin at İstanbul 25th High Criminal Court this week. 16th Criminal Chamber of the Court of Cassation had upheld the sentences of 17 out of 26 defendants and overturned sentences of 8 defendants. The court justified its decision to overturn convictions based on the fact that there is insufficient evidence to prove that seven defendants (excluding Atilla Taş) are “members in a terrorist organization.” The court also overturned Atilla Taş’s conviction for “aiding a terrorist organization without being its member” charges, arguing that Taş’s actions constitute the elements of “insulting the President” and “denigrating the Turkish nation” charges.
  • Fourth hearing of the trial where Habertürk columnist Nagehan Alçı is accused of insulting former İstanbul 37th High Criminal Court judge Hakan Yalçınkaya in a column published on Haberturk.com.tr on June 15, 2018 will be held at Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance.

1 April Thursday

  • Trial where Medya Koridoru Editor-in-Chief Canan Kaya is sued by Demirören Media Conglomerate with a request for reparations will be resume at Bakırköy 6th Civil Court of First Instance this week. Kaya, whom MLSA represents in court, is sued for a news report published in medyakoridoru.com titled “Scandal at Demirören Medya! Female staffer is forced to resign for walking with her shoes on on the executive floor!” Demirören Medya claims that this news report “humiliates the company and its executives in an unjust and ill-intended manner,” further arguing that it “tarnishes the commercial reputation of the company and constitutes an attack on personal rights by exceeding the scope of freedom of expression and press.” 

2 April Friday

  • Van’ın Çatak ilçesinde Osman Şiban ve Servet Turgut’un helikopterden atılarak işkenceye uğramasının haberleştirilmesinin ardından 9 Ekim 2020 tarihinde tutuklanan Mezopotamya Ajansı (MA) muhabirleri Adnan Bilen ve Cemil Uğur, Jinnews muhabiri Şehriban Abi, gazeteci Nazan Sala ve tutuksuz yargılanan MA muhabiri Zeynep Durgut hakkında “silahlı örgüt üyeliği” suçlamasıyla açılan davanın ilk duruşması Van 5. Ağır Ceza Mahkemesinde görülecek. Sala’ya “örgüt propagandası yapmak” suçlaması da yöneltiliyor. Sanıkların gazeteci olduğuna dair pek çok delilin bulunduğu iddianamede gazetecilerin çalıştığı kurumların örgütten talimat alarak “devlet ve kurumları aleyhine” haberler yaptığı iddia ediliyor.
  • First hearing of the trial where Mesopotamia Agency (MA) reporters Adnan Bilen, Cemil Uğur and Zeynep Durgut, Jinnews reporter Şehriban Abi and freelance journalist Nazan Sala face “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will be held at Van 5th High Criminal Court this week. Bilen, Uğur, Abi and Sala who were arrested on October 9, 2020 after reporting on the torture and throwing off of Osman Şiban and Servet Turgut from a helicopter by soldiers in Van’s Çatak district have been in pre-trial detention for the past 170 days. Journalist Sala faces “terror propaganda” charges as well.
  • Trial where local Batman newspaper Jiyan Haber’s proprietor journalist İdris Yayla is accused of defying the Law on Assemblies and Demonstrations no. 2911 will ne held at Batman 1st Criminal Court of First Instance this week. Yayla is accused of following a press statement organized against the trustee appointed to Batman Municipality with the attendance of HDP MP Sebahat Tuncel as a reporter.