Upcoming Trials

Journalism and free speech trials: Week of October 5

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

6 October Tuesday

  • Trial where 38 people including Özgür Gelecek reporter Taylan Özgür Öztaş and Etkin News Agency (ETHA) reporter Tunahan Turhan face defying the Law no. 2911 on Assemblies and Demonstrations will be held at Anadolu 13th Criminal Court of First Instance. They are accused of attending the protests against appointment of trustees in Kurdish provinces instead of elected mayors, which were held at Kadıköy in August 2019. Öztaş was taken in police custody while following the protest as a reporter on Aug 22 and Turhan was taken in custody later in the evening that day with a police raid to his home. Both journalists were released with judicial control measures upon providing their statements at the prosecutor’s office. 
  • Trial where Free Journalists Initiative (ÖGİ) spokesperson Hakkı Boltan faces “insulting the president” charges will be held at Diyarbakır 12th Criminal Court of First Instance this week. Boltan faces these charges for a press statement he made about Azadiya Welat newspaper’s Managing Editor Rohat Aktaş, who was stuck in the basement of a building during the curfews that were announced in Cizre in 2016. 
  • Third hearing of the trial where Demokratik Ulus newspaper former Managing Editor Arafat Dayan faces “terror propaganda” and “printing or publishing the declarations or announcements of terrorist organizations” charges for various news reports published in Demokratik Ulus daily newspaper between 26 Jun – 3 Jul 2012 will be held at İstanbul 23rd Criminal Court this week. Dayan had previously been sentenced to 4 years and 2 months in prison in this case. He entered prison once the sentence was upheld. However, Dayan was released from prison on November 7, 2019 once the judicial reform strategy took effect and the article on terror propaganda was amended. The Court of Cassation ruled that Dayan be re-tried as part of this case and the file returned to the local court.

7 October Wednesday

  • Evrensel daily columnist and Galatasaray University faculty member Ceren Sözeri will appear before the İstanbul 2nd Comercial Court of First Instance for the first hearing of the trial where she is sued for a column from April 7, 2019 titled “Who made AKP lose votes” this week. Turkuvaz Media Conglomerate’s Vice President of the Executive Board Serhat Albayrak is suing Sözeri for 200 thousand Turkish liras in compensation, arguing that he’s faced business loss due to the column.
  • Trial where since shut-down İMC TV’s Program Coordinator Ayşegül Doğan faces “founding and managing an armed organization” charges for her journalistic activities including meetings and interviews with Democratic Society Congress (DTK) executives and events that she attended as a journalist will resume at Diyarbakır 9th High Criminal Court. The prosecutor demands up to 22.5 years in prison for Doğan.
  • First hearing of the trial where journalist Can Ataklı faces “insulting the President” charges for statements he made during his morning show at TELE-1 TV channel on Feb 26, 2020 will be held at İstanbul 22nd Criminal Court of First Instance this week.

8 October Thursday

  • Trial where journalist İnan Ketenciler faces “violation of privacy” and “insulting a public officer” charges for videotaping a nightwatchman’s maltreatment to a citizen and posting this on Twitter will resume at İstanbul 55th Criminal Court of First Instance this week. MLSA will represent the journalist in court. 
  • Second hearing of the trial where journalist Oktay Candemir faces “insulting the President” charges for a tweet he had posted on September 5, 2019 will be held at Van 3rd Criminal Court of First Instance. Candemir’s concerned tweet criticized Erdoğan’s policy on appointing trustees to local Kurdish municipalities instead of elected mayors.
  • Second 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 on Ms. Erdoğan’s Hermes bag and the trial of CHP İstanbul chair Canan Kaftancıoğlu
  • Trial where journalist Ayser Çınar faces “terror propaganda” charges for two tweets criticizing the “Olive Branch” military operation conducted in Afrin, Syria will begin at Ankara 22nd High Criminal Court this week. Çınar, whom MLSA represents in court, faces this charge for two posts from 16 and 18 March 2018 which were news reports but the prosecution claims that these posts justify the violent operations of YPG. 
  • Trial where Gazete Karınca’s former Managing Editor Necla Demir faces “insulting the President” charges for two news reports published in Gazete Karınca in October 2016 will begin at Bakırköy 8th Criminal Court of First Instance. Demir is accused of  “offending the President’s dignity, honor, and reputation” based on a news report published on 10 October 2016 titled “RedHack members have spoken: Why did they hack Albayrak?” and another news report published on 9 October 2016 titled “Wikileaks documents: Erdoğan is driving the country into civil conflict.”

9 October Friday

  • Trial where journalist Sertaç Kayar faces “founding and managing a terrorist organization” charges will resume at Diyarbakır 10th High Criminal Court. Marches, demonstrations and press conferences that he attended as a journalist in Diyarbakır between 2012-2014 are used as evidence against him. 
  • Trial where Cumhuriyet reporter Seyhan Avşar is accused of insulting prosecutors İsmet Bozkurt and Lütfü Karabacak by ‘portraying them as prosecutors who take legal action in exchange of a bribe’ in her news story on the FETÖ investigation launched against the prosecutors that was published in Cumhuriyet on 17 March 2019 will resume at İstanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance this week.