Upcoming Trials

Journalism and free speech trials: Week of September 21

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

21 September Monday
  • Journalist Aziz Oruç, who has been in pre-trial detention since 18 December 2019, will appear before the court. Second hearing of the trial where Oruç, whom MLSA represents in court, faces “membership in a terrorist organization” and “terrorist propaganda” charges will be held at the Ağrı 2nd High Criminal Court.
  • Trial where journalist Ferhat Parlak faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will resume at Diyarbakır 10th High Criminal Court. Parlak was taken into custody on April 10th, 2018 and a judgeship had ruled for his arrest on April 13th, 2018. The indictment against journalist Parlak was submitted almost a year after his arrest, on March 25th, 2019. Parlak was released on July 8 during the first hearing of his trial, where he appeared before a court for the first time since he was detained.
  • Trial where journalist Erhan Akbaş faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will resume at Van 7th High Criminal Court this week. Akbaş is among 11 defendants and is charged for his municipal work he conducted while he had a seat at the Erciş Municipality Council. Secret witness statements, police investigation records and tapes of their phone conversations are used as evidence against the defendants. 
  • Trial where Evrensel daily writer Yusuf Karataş faces “founding and managing an armed organization” charges for panels and workshops that he had attended will resume at Diyarbakır 9th High Criminal Court. The prosecutor demands up to 22.5 years in prison for Karataş. 
22 September Tuesday
  • Second hearing of the trial where journalist Sabiha Temizkan 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. 
  • First hearing of the trial where journalist Burcu Özkaya Günaydın faces “terror propaganda” charges will be held at Hatay 2nd High Criminal Court. Journalist Özkaya Günaydın, whom MLSA represents in court, faces this charge due to three tweets criticizing the Turkish army’s Operation Peace Spring in Northern Syria from 8 – 10 October 2019 and using the hashtag #RojavaKazanacak (Rojava will win).
23 September Wednesday
  • Trial where 23 defendants including Etkin News Agency (ETHA) editor İsminaz Temel and reporter Havva Cuştan face “membership in a terrorist organization” and “terrorist propaganda” charges will resume at the İstanbul 27th High Criminal Court. Temel had been released during the fourth hearing following a 16-month detainment. 
  • Trial where former German Green Party MP Memet Kılıç faces “insulting the President” charges will resume at Ankara 36th Criminal Court of First Instance this week. Kılıç, whom Media and Law Studies Association represents in court, faces this charge based on an interview he gave to online news portal ABC on July 12, 2017, which was published with the title “Charge of Genocide against Erdoğan: The Banana Republic treatment.” 
  • Seventeenth hearing of the trial where since shuttered Özgür Gündem daily’s Former Managing Editor Reyhan Çapan faces “terror propaganda” charges will be held at İstanbul 2nd High Criminal Court this week. This case-file was merged into one following 18 separate indictments prepared against Çapan for various news reports published in Özgür Gündem. 
24 September Thursday
  • Trial where Cumhuriyet reporter Zehra Özdilek faces “disclosing or publishing the identity of a public official on anti-terrorist duty and identifying such persons as a target” charges based on the fact that she included the name of a secret witness in a news report from May 9, 2019 titled “Onay, who is behind bars for asking for her job back, calls on KESK” will resume at İstanbul 27th High Criminal Court this week. Initially the Prosecutor’s office found no ground for prosecution, but this decision was never sent to Özdilek and an indictment was drafted 20 days later although there was no objection to the non-prosecution decision. 
  • Trial where journalist İnan Ketenciler faces “violation of privacy” and “insulting a public officer” charges for videotaping a nightwatchman’s maltreatment to a citizend and posting this on Twitter will begin at İstanbul 55th Criminal Court of First Instance this week. MLSA will represent the journalist in court. 
  • Trial where Etkin News Agency (ETHA) Managing Editor Derya Okatan faces “insult” charges will resume at İstanbul 39th Criminal Court of First Instance this week. Okatan is accused of insulting lawyer Onur Kale based on news reports published on ETHA’s web site that list Kale’s name as one of the people who sexually assaulted 8 women from Mersin Platform for Women while they were in police custody.