Upcoming Trials

Journalism and freedom of expression trials: Week of April 4

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

April 5th, 2022

  • The seventh hearing of the retrial of 38 people including HDP Co-Vice President and Van MP Tayip Temel and HDP Mardin MP Pero Dündar will be held in the Diyarbakır 2nd High Criminal Court, at 09:15. 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 second hearing of the trial where journalist Metin Cihan and his alleged source face “illegally obtaining or giving personal data” charge will be held in the İstanbul 22nd Criminal Court of First Instance, at 11:00. The indictment in which the Turkey Youth Foundation (TÜGVA) is listed as “the injured party”, presents social media posts of Cihan through which he publicized the leaked documents about TÜGVA showing the corruption the foundation has been involved in as evidence against the journalist. Even though the prosecutor states that he failed to authenticate the content of the documents, he nonetheless claims that the documents have been “falsified” and requests up to 6 years imprisonment for Cihan.
  • The 16th hearing of the trial where journalist Rüstem Batum whom MLSA represents in court, faces “insulting the president” charge will be held in the İstanbul 41st Criminal Court of First Instance, at 11.10. Batum faces these charges for statements he made during a TV appearance on journalist Ayşegül Doğan’s programme on İMC TV in September 2015.

April 7th, 2022

  • The third hearing of “the Özgürlükçü Demokrasi” retrial where journalists İhsan Yaşar, İshak Yasul, Mehmet Ali Çelebi, Mizgin Fendik, Pınar Tarlak, Reyhan Hacıoğlu and Hicran Urun face “membership in a terrorist organization”, “printing or publishing the leaflets and declarations of terrorist organizations”, “inciting the public to hatred and hostility”, “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” and “praising an offense and offender” charges will be held in the İstanbul 23rd High Criminal Court, at 09:30. On its decision dated March 5, 2021, the 27th Penal Chamber of the İstanbul Regional Court of Appeals had overturned the acquittals of Mizgin Fendik and Pınar Tarlak and the convictions of other journalists on the grounds that the sentences they received were “inadequate.”
  • The fifth hearing of the retrial of since shuttered Zaman newspaper columnists Şahin Alpay, Ali Bulaç, Mümtaz’er Türköne and editor Mehmet Özdemir will be held in the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court, at 13:30. The Court of Cassation’s 16th Penal Chamber completed its appellate review of the Zaman newspaper case and overturned the convictions of Alpay, Bulaç and Türköne, ruling that their actions do not constitute “membership in a terrorist organization” and that they should be tried for “aiding and abetting a terrorist organization without being a member” charge. The court also overturned the acquittal decision for editor Özdemir, ruling that his actions constitute “membership in a terrorist organization” and therefore should be tried for this charge.

April 8th, 2022

  • The eighth hearing of the trial where journalist Devrim Ayık faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charge will be held in the İzmir 2nd High Criminal Court, at 09:30. Journalist Ayık who has severe Crohn’s disease is being held in pretrial detention. At the seventh hearing on January 25th, the court rejected Ayık and his lawyer’s request to be released.
  • The 12th hearing of the trial where 22 defendants, including journalist and sociologist Adil Demirci face “membership in a terrorist organization” and “making propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organization” charges will be held in the İstanbul 25th High Criminal Court, at 10:00. Adil Demirci was released on February 14, 2019 after a 10-month detainment.