Upcoming Trials

Journalism and free speech trials: Week of November 30

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

30 November Monday

  • Third hearing of the trial where former Azadiya Welat newspaper staffer journalist Velat Öztekin faces “terror propaganda” charges for his social media posts will be held at Diyarbakır 9th High Criminal Court. The prosecutor had demanded up to 5 years in prison for Öztekin for “consecutively making terror propaganda” charges based on news reports and photos he had posted on his social media accounts in 2015 – 2016 while there were curfews in Kurdish cities.

1 December Tuesday

  • 20th hearing of the KCK Press trial where 46 journalists face terror-related charges, which has been dragging for the past 7 years, will take place at İstanbul 3rd High Criminal Court this week. 32 journalists out of the 46 who were taken into custody on December 20, 2011 were arrested on December 24 as part of an operation towards Kurdish media including Dicle News Agency, Özgür Gündem, Azadiya Welat, Demokratik Modernite and Fırat Distribution Inc. Interviews, photos, press briefs that they attended, correspondence with news resources and many other journalistic activities were used as evidence against them in the indictment.
  • Re-trial of HDP Co-Vice President and Van MP Tayip Temel will resume at Diyarbakır 2nd High Criminal Court this week. Temel was initially sentenced to 18 years in prison for “founding and managing a terrorist organization” while he was tried in the KCK Main Trial; however, the Supreme Court had overturned his sentence last year. Kurdish newspaper Azadiye Welat’s former Editor-in-Chief Temel was arrested on October 8, 2011 and remained in prison until July 1, 2014. 
  • The trial where journalist Hayri Demir is accused of “membership in a terrorist organization” and “making terrorist propaganda” charges will resume at Ankara 15th High Criminal Court this week. This new trial received media attention because evidence presented in the indictment included footage and photographs taken by Demir while he was covering news in Syria. This footage was inside a memory card from a camera that was stolen from Demir’s home in Ankara. 

2 December Wednesday

  • The trial where former Dicle News Agency (DİHA) reporter İdris Sayılğan faces “terrorist propaganda” charges will resume 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. 
  • Third hearing of the trial where Evrensel daily columnist Ender İmrek is accused of “publicly insulting” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s wife Emine Erdoğan in a column will be held at Bakırköy 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance. İmrek is charged with “insult” for a column that compares Ms. Erdoğan’s Hermes bag and the trial of CHP İstanbul chair Canan Kaftancıoğlu
  • Third hearing of the trial where journalist Erhan Akbaş faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will be held at Van 7th High Criminal Court this week. Akbaş is among 8 defendants and is charged for his municipal work he conducted while he had a seat at the Erciş Municipality Council. Secret witness statements, police investigation records and tapes of their phone conversations are used as evidence against the defendants. 
  • Trial where former German Green Party MP Memet Kılıç faces “insulting the President” charges will resume at Ankara 36th Criminal Court of First Instance this week. Kılıç, whom Media and Law Studies Association represents in court, faces this charge based on an interview he gave to online news portal ABC on July 12, 2017, which was published with the title “Charge of Genocide against Erdoğan: The Banana Republic treatment.” 
  • First hearing of the trial where journalist Alican Uludağ faces “disclosing or publishing the identities of state officials on anti-terror duty and/or identifying them as targets” charges for a tweet where he criticized Ankara Chief Prosecutor Yüksel Kocaman will be held at Ankara 18th High Criminal Court.
  • Eighth hearing of the trial where artist Ferhat Tunç faces “inciting the public to hatred and animosity” charges for his social media posts will be held at Büyükçekmece 4th Criminal Court of First Instance this week.

3 December Thursday

  • Three separate court cases where journalist and former President Abdullah Gül’s press advisor Ahmet Sever faces various charges for his 2018 book İçimde Kalmasın/Tanıklığımdır will resume at İstanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance. Sever faces three separate trials for the book; he is on trial for “insulting the President” per President Erdoğan’s complaint, for “insulting a public officer” for AKP Tekirdağ MP and Parlimanent Head Mustafa Şentop per Şentop’s complaint, and faces another court case for “insulting a public officer” per Minister of Industry and Technology Mustafa Varank’s complaint.
  • Eighteenth hearing of the trial where since shut Özgür Gündem daily’s former Co-Editors-in-Chief Eren Keskin, Hüseyin Aykol, former Managing Editor Reyhan Çapan and reporters İslam Tüner, Lütfi Yavuzaslan, Methi Kaya, Hasan Başak and Kemal Yakut face “terrorist propaganda,” “provoking to commit a crime” and “praising an offense or an offender” charges because of Özgür Gündem’s reporting on “self-governance” in Kurdish provinces in March 2016 will resume at İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court.

4 December Friday

  • Trial where Cumhuriyet daily’s former Editor-in-Chief Can Dündar faces “securing information that, due to its nature, must be kept confidential for reasons relating to the security or domestic or foreign political interests of the state for the purposes of espionage” and “aiding and abetting a terrorist organization” charges for publishing the news report on National Intelligence Organization’s (MİT) 18-wheeler trucks carrying weapons across the border will resume at İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court. The prosecutor demanded up to 35 years in prison for Dündar in the previous hearing.
  • Eighth hearing of the trial where journalist Mehmet Dursun faces “terrorist propaganda” charges based on several phone recordings will be held at Van 4th High Criminal Court this week. Former Dicle News Agency (DİHA) reporter Mehmet Dursun was arrested in Van on April 7, 2017 and remained in detention for eight months pending trial.