Upcoming Trials

Journalism and free speech trials: Week of September 20

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

20 September Monday

  • The seventh hearing of the trial where journalist Durket Süren faces “aiding and abetting a terrorist organization” and “terrorist propaganda” charges will be held at Diyarbakır 11th High Criminal Court this week. Journalist Süren was taken into police custody on March 1, 2019 in Diyarbakır’s Lice district while she was reporting. The indictment presents her twitter posts, phone recordings, her selling copies of Azadiya Welat and Özgür Gündem newspapers and her TV program titled “Women’s Perspective” from April 11, 2017 as evidence against her.

21 September Tuesday

  • The seventh hearing of the trial where Kurdish PEN member, author and poet Meral Şimşek faces “membership in a terrorist organization” and “making terrorist propaganda” charges will be held at Malatya 2nd High Criminal Court this week. The indictment presents among other things the poems Şimşek shared on her social media accounts and awards on which congratulations text is inscribed in Kurdish as evidence against Şimşek. The prosecution demands imprisonment up to 22 years for Şimşek.
  • The fourth hearing of the retrial of 38 people including HDP Co-Vice President and Van MP Tayip Temel and HDP Mardin MP Pero Dündar 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. The indictment presents journalistic activities as evidence against Kurdish newspaper Azadiye Welat’s former Editor-in-Chief Temel. Temel was arrested on October 8, 2011 and remained in prison until July 1, 2014.
  • The ninth hearing of what is commonly known as“Antalya FETÖ/PDY Media Leg” trial will be held at Antalya 2nd High Criminal Court this week. 22 people including Zaman and Cihan News Agency reporters Cihat Ünal, Kenan Baş; Zaman reporters Serhat Şeftali, Osman Yakut, Özkan Mayda ve Ömer Özdemir, Bizim Antalya news web site owner Olgun Matur, Antalya daily owner Ali Orhan and Managing Editor Müdürü Hasan Yavaşlar face “membership in a terrorist organization” and “aiding and abetting a terrorist organization”charges.
  • The tenth hearing of the trial where former Gelî Kurdistan TV cameraman Rojhat Doğru faces “disrupting the unity and integrity of the state,” “membership in a terrorist organization,” and “terror propaganda” charges will be held at Diyarbakır 8th High Criminal Court. While Doğru is tried without detention in this case, he was arrested on May 23 for sending money to a friend in prison. The indictment presents his social media posts, reporting on the Kobanî protests of October 6 – 8, 2014, several interviews he conducted, and secret witness statements as evidence against him.
  • The fifth hearing of the trial where journalist Rüstem Batum whom MLSA represents in court, faces “insulting the President” and “inciting the public to hatred” charges will be held at Istanbul 5th Criminal Court this week. The indictment presents 20 tweets Rüstem had posted between 2016 – 2018 as evidence against him.
  • The fifth hearing of the trial where Mesopotamia News Agency (MA) reporter Sadık Topaloğlu and journalist Sadiye Eser face “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will be held at İstanbul 22nd High Criminal Court this week. The indictment presents Topaloğlu’s travels abroad and a guest list for an award ceremony as evidence against the journalists. Eser and Topaloğlu were detained on Nov 29, 2019 shortly after they left the MA’s office and were arrested on Dec 3, 2019. Journalists were released during the first hearing held on Mar 26, 2020.
  • The third hearing where journalist Fatih Gönül faces “membership in a terrorist organization” and “making terrorist propaganda” charges will be held at Ankara 25th High Criminal Court this week. The indictment presents football matches organized by Gönül and his activities at Dicle News Agency (DİHA) which is claimed to be operating under directives from the terrorist organization as evidence against him.

22 September Wednesday

  • The tenth hearing of the trial where exiled artist Ferhat Tunç faces “inciting the public to hatred and enmity” charges will be held at Büyükçekmece 4th Criminal Court of First Instance this week. The indictment presents a tweet in which Tunç criticized the 2017 Referendum as evidence against him.

23 September Thursday

  • The second hearing of the trial where journalist Oktay Candemir faces “making terror propaganda” charges will be held at Van 5th High Criminal Court this week. The indictment presents the slogans in a footage which was recorded 16 years ago, footage found in digital materials confiscated from Candemir’s home during a police raid on April 5, 2019 and social media posts on his personal account as evidence against him.
  • The sixth hearing of the suit for damages brought against journalist Çiğdem Toker by the Turkey Technology Team Foundation (T3 Foundation) will be held at the Istanbul Küçükçekmece 3rd Civil Court this week. The lawsuit was brought against Toker after her article titled “Service Report of IBB to Foundations” in Sözcü Newspaper on 28 January 2019. The article shared the details of the report titled “Non-Governmental Organizations – School – Dormitory Activity Report” prepared by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB). In the lawsuit petition, the Foundation’s lawyers claim that the article was baseless and constitutes defamation. In the petition, it was also stated that “the patriotism of those who wrote and published this article must be questioned”. In the petition, a fine of 80 thousand liras for moral recompensation is demanded.
  • The third hearing of the trial where journalist Cengiz Çandar whom MLSA represents in court and Kemal Işıktaş face “praising an offence and the offender” charges will be held at İstanbul 30th Criminal Court of First Instance this week. The indictment presents a 2017 tweet in which Çandar and Işıktaş commemorated Ayşe Deniz Karacagil who died fighting ISIS. In the indictment, the prosecution claims that Karacagil died fighting for a terrorist organization in Raqqa and that praising her on social media would constitute an open threat to public peace.