Upcoming Trials

Journalism and free speech trials: Week of March 8

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

8 March Monday

  • Fourth hearing of the trial where Oda TV Ankara News Director Müyesser Yıldız and Tele1 Ankara representative İsmail Dükel face “obtaining and disclosing information relating to the security and political interests of the state” charges will be held at Ankara 26th High Criminal Court this week. Dükel and Yıldız were detained in Ankara on June 8, the court ruled for Dükel’s release with judicial control measures and decided to arrest Yıldız due to “reasonable doubt of guilt, possibility to spoil evidence or flee” on June 12,  2020. Yıldız was released during the first hearing held on November 9, 2020. The prosecutor had demanded up to 41 years in prison for each journalist in the previous hearing

9 March Tuesday

  • Twelfth hearing of the trial where journalist Kibriye Evren faces “membership in a terrorist organization” and “terrorist propaganda” charges for her journalistic activities and social media posts will resume at Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court. Evren was arrested on Oct 11, 2018 and was tried whilst in detention until the previous hearing. She was released during the eighth hearing of the trial on Nov 11, 2019 following a 13-month detainment. 
  • Fifth hearing of the trial where former Halk TV executive and journalist Hakan Aygün faces “publicly degrades the religious values of a section of the public” charges for a tweet criticizing the government for demanding donations to combat COVID-19 will be held at Bodrum 3rd Criminal Court of First Instance. Aygün was taken under police custody on April 2 for this tweet and was arrested for “inciting the public to hatred” and “insult” charges on April 3. Journalist Aygün was released pending trial during the first hearing which was held on May 6, 2020. 
  • Second hearing of the trial where journalist and economist Mustafa Sönmez faces “insulting the President” charges for three tweets he had posted between 2015 and 2016 will be held at Anadolu 26th Criminal Court of First Instance this week. 
  • Trial where former Cumhuriyet reporter Hakan Dirik and former BirGün reporter Erk Acarer are accused of “slander” against former Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdağ will resume at İstanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance. Bekir Bozdağ filed a complaint against journalist Dirik because of a news report published in Cumhuriyet on 22 October 2015 titled “AKP protects Islamic terror: Bozdağ closed the Sarin Case” and a similar story Acarer penned for BirGün
  • Third hearing of the trial where Mesopotamia News Agency (MA) reporters Sadiye Eser and Sadık Topaloğlu face “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will be held at İstanbul 22nd High Criminal Court this week. Eser and Topaloğlu were detained on Nov 29, 2019 shortly after they left the news agency’s building and were arrested on Dec 3, 2019. Journalists were released during the first hearing held on Mar 26, 2020.
  • Fourth hearing of the trial where Demokrat Haber website editor journalist Selda Manduz faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will be held at Kars 2nd High Criminal Court this week. Manduz was taken in police custody on Oct 1, 2020 as part of an operation against HDP politicians in Kars and was released with judicial control measures on Oct 4, 2020. Testimonies of secret witnesses and tape recordings of Manduz’s phone conversations are presented as evidence against the journalist.

10 March Wednesday

  • Third hearing of the trial where Habertürk columnist Nagehan Alçı is accused of insulting former Istanbul 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.

11 March Thursday

  • Sixth hearing of the trial where Free Journalists Initiative (ÖGİ) spokesperson Hakkı Boltan faces “insulting the president” and “insulting a public officer” charges will be held at Diyarbakır 12th Criminal Court of First Instance this week. Boltan faces these charges for a press statement he made about Azadiya Welat newspaper’s Managing Editor Rohat Aktaş, who was stuck in the basement of a building during the curfews that were announced in Cizre in 2016. 
  • Fourth hearing of the trial where Cumhuriyet reporter Seyhan Avşar and Sözcü daily Managing Editor Necdet Önemli face “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 photographer and poet Mehmet Özer faces “making terror propaganda” charges for six Facebook posts he made between 2012 and 2015 will be held at Ankara 2nd High Criminal Court this week. 
  • Sixteenth hearing of the trial where former Dicle News Agency (DİHA) reporter Şerife Oruç faces “membership in a terror organization” charges will be held at Batman 2nd High Criminal Court this week.