Upcoming Trials

Journalism and free speech trials: Week of September 14

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

15 September Tuesday
  • Trial where Van TV staffers Gülsün Altan, Gürcan Bayrakçı, Kadir Cesur, Koçali Özipek, Nahide Aslan, Nedim Dalga, Serdar Altan and Sibel Eres face “terrorist propaganda” charges for various news bulletins broadcast by the TV channel between February – May 2016 will resume at Van 4th High Criminal Court this week. 
  • The trial where artist Ferhat Tunç faces “insulting the president” charges for ten tweets he had posted in 2016 will resume at Büyükçekmece 14th Criminal Court of the First Instance this week.
  • Trial of seven defendants whose files were separated at the end of the Gezi trial will resume at İstanbul 30th High Criminal Court this week. Defendants who all live abroad include exiled journalist Can Dündar are tried in absentia and face various charges including “attempting to overthrow the government.” 
  • Trial where former Cumhuriyet reporter Hakan Dirik and former BirGün reporter Erk Acarer are accused of “slander” against former Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdağ will resume at İstanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance. Bekir Bozdağ filed a complaint against the journalist because of a news report published in Cumhuriyet on 22 October 2015 titled “AKP protects Islamic terror: Bozdağ closed the Sarin Case” anda similar story Erk Acarer penned for BirGün. 
  • Trial where journalist Ahmet Sever is accused of “insulting the President” and “insulting” Mustafa Şentop and Mustafa Varank due to his book titled İçimde Kalmasın/Tanıklığımdır will resume at İstanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance
16 September 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. 
17 September Thursday
  • Trial where journalists Ali Açar, Canan Coşkun and Cansever Uğur face “disclosing or publishing the identities of state officials on anti-terror duty and/or identifying them as targets” charge will be held at İstanbul 34th High Criminal Court this week. Journalists Açar and Coşkun are on trial for a news report published in Cumhuriyet daily on 11 March 2016 titled “Cop who allegedly shot Berkin Elvan did not remember his place of duty” and Uğur for another new report published on BirGün’s website titled “Reason of the confidentiality order in Berkin investigation: Not to defame the murderer.” 
  • 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. 
  • Trial where Demokratik Ulus newspaper’s former Managing Editor Arafat Dayan faces “terror propaganda” charges will resume at İstanbul 2nd High Criminal Court this week. Journalist Dayan was sentenced to 5 years and 10 months in prison for this charge and entered prison in 2016 after the Court of Cassation upheld this sentence in May 2015. Following the enactment of the Judiciary Reform Package, which revised the article on “terror propaganda,” it was ruled that Dayan shall be retried and he was released from prison.