This week several journalism and freedom of expression trials will resume at courts. Below is a list of this week’s hearings:
20 October Tuesday
- Thirteenth hearing of the trial where since shuttered Dicle News Agency reporter Abdullah Kaya faces “membership in a terror organization” and “consecutively making terror propaganda” charges will be held at Ağrı 2nd High Criminal Court. Kaya was briefly detained during the investigation period and was released on May 8, 2017. The trial has been dragging for the past 3 years. Evidence presented against Kaya include footage found in the digital materials that were seized, which Kaya recorded while reporting, two social media posts and witness testimonies.
21 October Wednesday
- The trial where Jin News Van correspondent Hikmet Tunç faces “insult” charges for a news report published on May 13, 2019 will resume in Muradiye Criminal Court of First Instance this week. Tunç’s reporting has revealed that the Muradiye waterfall was abandoned to its fate by the contractor company which was paid 4,5 million TL by the municipality to restore the waterfall. Van Chief Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation against Tunç’s news story in February 2020 following Muradiye Mayor Erkan Savar’s complaint, which argued that Tunç’s reporting was “false and unfounded.” Savar was appointed to the Muradiye Municipality as a trustee after the elected mayor was dismissed from office.
- Appeal hearing of journalist Çiğdem Akbayrak will be held at Trabzon Appeal Court’s 2nd Criminal Chamber this week. Akbayrak was previously tried and acquitted of “insulting the President” charges; however, Erdoğan’s lawyers have appealed the decision demanding Akbayrak’s acquittal to be overturned. Journalist Çiğdem Akbayrak, whom MLSA represents in court, faces this charge for one single tweet and will attend the hearing from Istanbul via SEGBİS video-conference link.
22 October Thursday
- Eighth hearing of the trial where 22 Özgür Gündem journalists–who were taken into custody while the police was raiding Özgür Gündem daily’s office on 16 June 2016–are tried on charges of “resisting a public official to prevent them from performing their duty” and “libel” will be held at İstanbul 5th Criminal Court of the First Instance.
- Trial where Azadiya Welat and Özgürlükçü Demokrasi newspapers’ distributors Mikail Tunçdemir and Ferhat Duman face “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will resume at Van 5th High Criminal Court this week. Tunçdemir and Duman stand trial due to news reports published in both papers in 2018.
- Seventh hearing of the trial where Cumhuriyet reporter Alican Uludağ and Cumhuriyet’s diplomacy reporter at the time Duygu Güvenç face “publicly denigrating the Turkish state and its judicial institutions” (Article 301) charges for their news story on Pastor Andrew Brunson titled “While the hostage diplomacy collapses” will be held at İstanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance.
- Trial where journalist Mustafa Hoş faces “insulting the President” charges will resume at İstanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance this week. Hoş was sentenced to a judiciary fine of 10.500 TRY for the same charge in June 2016 because of his book on President Erdoğan titled Big Boss. Another lawsuit was filed against Hoş for his defense statement from that trial.
- First hearing of the trial where Cumhuriyet daily’s former reporter Alican Uludağ and Managing Editor Olcay Büyüktaş Akça face “disclosing or publishing the identity of a public official on anti-terrorist duty and identifying them as a target via press” charges will be held at İstanbul 32nd High Criminal Court this week. Journalists stand trial for Uludağ’s news report published on 22 November 2019, which revealed that law enforcement were tipped off about the Ankara railway station bombing 8 days prior to the attack but sat on this information. Indictment claims that sharing the name and address of the whistleblower’s workplace goes beyond “the right to inform the public.”
- Fourth hearing of the trial where journalist Sabiha Temizkan, whom MLSA represents in court, faces “making terror propaganda” charges will be held at İstanbul 35th High Criminal Court. The indictment lists only one tweet Temizkan had posted in 2014, in which she shares a news story on ISIS capturing Makhmur refugee camp in Northern Iraq. Verdict is expected in this hearing.
- Third hearing of the trial where İleri Haber’s former Editor-in-Chief Onur Emre Yağan faces “insulting the president” charges for 4 tweets posted from İleri Haber’s official account will be held at Anadolu 53rd Criminal Court of First Instance this week.
23 October Friday
- Fourth hearing of the trial where 38 people including journalists Mustafa Sönmez, Sedef Kabaş, Merdan Yanardağ ile Bloomberg Business muhabirleri Kerim Karakaya and Fercan Yalınkılıç are accused of sharing “false, wrong, or deceptive information” to affect the markets for their reporting will resume at İstanbul 3rd Criminal Court of First Instance. The criminal investigation was launched following Turkey’s banking regulator agency BDDK’s complaint and finance reporting & social media posts criticizing the government’s financial policies are considered evidence for “defying the capital markets law.”
- Second hearing of the trial where journalist Mazlum Dolan faces “membership in a terror organization” charges will be held at Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court this week.