This week several journalism and freedom of expression trials will resume at courts. Below is a list of this week’s hearings:
25 May Tuesday
- Third hearing of the trial where since shuttered Dicle News Agency’s former reporter Selman Keleş faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will be held at Van 5th High Criminal Court. Keleş was arrested alongside journalist Arif Aslan on 30 March 2017 while taking photos near Van Municipality building as terror suspects and they were released during the first hearing of their trial, which was held on 21 November 2017. While Keleş and Aslan were tried together, Keleş’s file was separated in the eighth hearing which was held on Sept 3, 2020.
- Street artist with the pseudonym İzinsiz will appear before İstanbul 20th Criminal Court of First Instance for their mural interventions made to the panels of Devrim Erbil paintings that were used to enclose the Kabataş port construction site. This will be the third hearing.
- Eighth hearing of the re-trial where since shuttered Dicle News Agency’s former reporter Ramazan Akoğul faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will be held at Diyarbakır 4th High Criminal Court this week. Akoğul was initially acquitted of all charges in this case; however, an appeals court has overturned his acquittal and sent the file back to the local court for re-trial. Akoğul is accused of attending a demonstration where organization members blocked a road in order to cover the story as a reporter.
- Trial where 23 defendants including Etkin News Agency (ETHA) editor İsminaz Temel and reporter Havva Cuştan face “membership in a terrorist organization” and “terrorist propaganda” charges will resume at the İstanbul 27th High Criminal Court. Temel had been released during the fourth hearing following a 16-month detainment.
26 May Wednesday
- The trial where former Dicle News Agency (DİHA) reporter Engin Eren faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will resume at Batman 2nd High Criminal Court this week.
- First hearing of the trial where Mesopotamia News Agency reporter Mehmet Aslan faces “membership in a terrorist organization” will be held at İstanbul 24th High Criminal Court this week. Aslan was arrested on January 8, 2021 in Antalya based on an investigation launched by the Antalya Chief Prosecutor’s Office. The indictment against the journalist was initially returned to the prosecutor’s office by an Antalya court due to lack of jurisdiction. An Istanbul court later accepted the indictment. Aslan, who’s been in pre-trial detention for over 5 months, is accused of being a member to a terrorist organization based on phone conversations with his news sources.
27 May Thursday
- Second hearing of the trial where journalist Dindar Karataş faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will be held at Erzurum 3rd High Criminal Court this week. Karataş, who was arrested on November 26, was released pending trial during the first hearing that was held on February 9, 2021. Mesopotamia News Agency Van bureau reporter Karataş was detained in Van on Nov 24, 2020. Police raided his home and the news agency’s office, confiscated all digital materials. Karataş was then taken to Erzurum where the investigation was launched and arrested for “membership in a terrorist organization” charges on Nov 26, 2020. The indictment presents tape recordings of Karataş’s phone conversations with his news sources and colleagues as evidence against him, further claiming that “he is in search of writing news reports that are pro-terrorist organization” and that “he attempts to report on military’s successful operations against the terrorist organization as if it is ‘torture and cruelty towards the region’ with his news reports published by Mesopotamia News Agency.”
- Third hearing of the trial where journalist Sonya Bayık faces “defying the Law on Assemblies and Demonstrations” will be held at Batman 1st Criminal Court of First Instance this week. This case was opened against Bayık after she was briefly detained at Hasankeyf while she was following a press conference against the historical site’s destruction.
- Trial where artist Ferhat Tunç faces “insulting a public official” charges will resume at Büyükçekmece 16th Criminal Court of First Instance this week. Tunç is accused of insulting former Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım in his social media posts from 2016.
- Trial where Kurdish newspaper Xwebun columnist and Kurdish linguist Mehmet Şahin faces “founding and managing a terrorist organization” charges for his activities within Democratic Society Congress (DTK) will resume at Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court this week.