Upcoming Trials

Journalism and free speech trials: Week of October 25

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

October 26 Tuesday

  • The third hearing of the retrial of journalists Ahmet Memiş, Ali Akkuş, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, Ünal Tanık, Yakup Çetin, Yetkin Yıldız and musician Atilla Taş who was a columnist in Meydan newspaper for what is known by the public as the “FETÖ media trial” will be held at İstanbul 25th High Criminal Court this week. The 16th Criminal Chamber of the Court of Cassation had upheld the sentences of 17 out of 26 defendants and overturned sentences of 8 defendants. The court justified its decision to overturn convictions based on the fact that there is insufficient evidence to prove that seven defendants (excluding Atilla Taş) are “members in a terrorist organization.” The court also overturned Atilla Taş’s conviction for “aiding a terrorist organization without being its member” charges, arguing that Taş’s actions constitute the elements of “insulting the president” and “denigrating the Turkish nation” charges.
  • The ninth hearing of the retrial 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. Even though Akoğul was initially acquitted of all charges in 2018, an appeals court has overturned his acquittal and sent the case file back to the local court for retrial. Akoğul is accused of attending a road-blocking demonstration in order to cover the story as a reporter. The prosecution had appealed to the acquittal decision claiming that the fact that the demonstrators did not intervene with Akoğul shows that he has some “trust relationship” with the demonstrators and thus he should be sentenced for “membership in a terrorist organization” charges.
  • The eighth hearing of the trial where three journalists including Osman Akın and Veysi Sarısözen face “spreading consecutive terrorist propaganda”  charges will be held at İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court this week. The indictment presents the news and articles published in Yeni Yaşam newspaper where Osman Akın was the editor-in-chief as evidence against the journalists. The prosecutor claims that the newspaper published news and articles which “legitimize the violent and threatening actions of the terrorist organization.”

October 27 Wednesday

  • The third hearing of the trial where journalist Caner Taşpınar faces “insult” charges will be held at İstanbul 11th Criminal Court of First Instance. Taşpınar is on trial for his 2020 book titled “Son-in-Law: Fethullahists In-Laws in the AKP.” Taşpınar is put on trial after the former Turkish Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman and AKP founding members İhsan Arslan and Ali İhsan Arslan who were mentioned in the book, filed complaints against Taşpınar.

October 28 Thursday

  • The tenth hearing of the trial where since shuttered TV10’s former cameraman Kemal Demir and TV10 employee Kemal Karagöz face “aiding and abetting a terrorist organization without being a member” charges will be held at Istanbul 28th High Criminal Court. In the indictment, it is claimed that Demir and Karagöz were “acquiring equipment to set up a television for PKK/KCK terrorist organization” and purchase records are presented as evidence to this claim. At the hearing which was held on February 9,2019, Demir was released from prison after a detention period of over a year. The court has yet to lift the international ban imposed on Demir and Karagöz.