Upcoming Trials

Journalism and free speech trials: Week of November 29

This week, the hearings of several journalism and freedom of expression trials will be held. Below is the list of these hearings:

29 November Monday

  • The second hearing of the trial where 52 students of Boğaziçi University face “defying the Law on Assemblies and Demonstrations no. 2911” and “deprivation of liberty” charges will be held at İstanbul 49th Criminal Court of First Instance, at 10.15. The indictment presents the social media posts with the tag #bundansonrasıbizde and the slogans the students shouted as evidence against them.

30 November Tuesday

  • The 20th hearing of the trial where since-shuttered Özgür Gündem newspaper’s managing editor Reyhan Çapan faces “making terrorist propaganda”, “publishing or spreading the publications and the announcements of terrorist organizations” and “spreading terrorist propaganda via the press” charges will be held at İstanbul 2nd High Criminal Court, at 09.40. 18 separate indictments have been prepared against Çapan and all of them were merged and accepted by İstanbul 2nd High Criminal Court. The indictments present news articles published in Özgür Gündem between 2012-2015 as evidence against Çapan. The prosecution requests imprisonment for Çapan for up to 15 years and six months and judicial fine for up to five thousand days.
  • The fifth hearing of the trial where PEN Germany’s President and Die Welt correspondent Deniz Yücel whom MLSA represents in court, faces “insulting a public official” charge will be held at İstanbul 24th Criminal Court of First Instance, at 10.10. The indictment presents a tweet Yücel posted on Feb 20, 2019 and which was about the prosecutor who prosecuted Yücel but was also leading the investigation on Osman Kavala as evidence to the charges.
  • The third hearing of the trial where video activist and documentarist Oktay İnce faces “insulting the president” charges will be held at Kemalpaşa 1st Criminal Court of First Instance, at 10.50. The indictment presents 10 social media posts İnce had shared between 2014-2019 as evidence against him. At the first hearing of the trial on October 19, the prosecutor presented his opinion and requested that İnce be sentenced for the charges.
  • The sixth hearing of the trial where journalists Ersin Çaksu and Aziz Oruç whom MLSA represents in court, face “degrading the Turkish nation, the state of Turkish Republic, the government, the judicial bodies of the State, the military and security organisations” charges will be held at İstanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance, at 10.55. Journalists Oruç and Çaksu were tried alongside Selman Keleş, Özgür Paksoy, Kenan Kırkaya and İshak Yasul in this case. The other four defendants were each sentenced to five months in prison per “denigrating the Turkish nation” charges, their sentences were suspended. However, Oruç and Çaksu’s files were separated since their testimonies could not be taken at the time.

1 December Wednesday

  • The fourth hearing of the trial where Cumhuriyet newspaper reporter Hazal Ocak, managing editor Olcay Büyüktaş, editor İpek Özbey and photojournalist Vedat Arık face “publishing the identities of state officials on anti-terror duty and/or identifying them as targets” and “violation of the privacy of personal life” charges will be held at İstanbul 26th High Criminal Court, at 14.00. Journalists stand trial for Ocak’s reporting on an illegal construction site in the land next to Turkish Presidency’s Communications Director Fatih Altun’s home in Kuzguncuk, which was published on April 14, 2020. The indictment claims that “freedom of expression and dissemination of thought must at times be limited in order to protect the public and the state” and further argues that Communications Director Altun must be considered as “having anti-terror duty and serving for this purpose when considered his statements and activities in relation to terrorist organizations.”

2 December Thursday

  • The 13th hearing of the trial where Azadiya Welat and Özgürlükçü Demokrasi newspapers’ distributors Mikail Tunçdemir and Ferhat Duman face “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will be held at Van 5th High Criminal Court, at 09.10. Tunçdemir and Duman stand trial due to news reports published in 2018 in the papers they distributed.