Upcoming Trials

Journalism and freedom of expression trials: Week of December 6

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

7 December Tuesday

  • The second hearing of the trial where journalist Cihan Ölmez faces “making terrorist propaganda” charges will be held at Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court, at 09:30. Journalist Ölmez was in Cizre at the time when a city-wide curfew was in place and gave interviews on the grave human rights violations in the region during the curfew. The indictment presents the news reports which contained his statements on human rights violations during the curfew and which he also had shared on his social media accounts back in 2016, as evidence against the journalist. The indictment also defines media outlets such as Evrensel daily and bianet as “so-called outlets” and claims that they “support PKK/KCK.” 
  • The 13th hearing of the trial where 17 people including journalists Eylem Sonbahar and Sema Karakurt whom MLSA represents in court and journalist Cihan Yücel (Metin Cihan) face “prevention of public duty” charges will be held at Antalya 25th Criminal Court of First Instance, at 09:50. The journalists were detained on November 15, 2015 while covering the G20 Summit protests in Antalya. In addition to “prevention of public duty” charges, four people additionally face “insult” charges.
  • The hearing of the trial where author and poet Gökhan Yavuzel faces “publicly provoking the public to hatred and hostility” charges will be held at Ankara 7th Criminal Court of First Instance, at 10:05. The indictment presents a social media post Yavuzel had shared on his social media and which was picked up during a “cyber patrol” by the police as evidence against Yavuzel.
  • The 16th hearing of the trial where nine people including journalist Kenan Kırkaya face “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will be held at Ankara 32nd High Criminal Court, at 14:00.  The indictment presents secret witness testimonies, employment at since shuttered Dicle News Agency (DİHA), and Kırkaya’s news show titled “Ankara’s Agenda” for Nûçe TV as evidence against Kırkaya.

8 December Wednesday

  • The sixth hearing of the trial where Muhammet İkram Müftüoğlu, HDP Doğubayazıt Co-Chair Abdullah Ekelik, Dicle Fırat Journalists’ Association Chair Dicle Müftüoğlu, Turgay İlboğa, Yücel İlhan and journalist Aziz Oruç, whom MLSA represents in court, face “membership in a terrorist organization” and “terrorist propaganda” charges will be held at the Ağrı 2nd High Criminal Court, at 09:15. Müftüoğlu, Ekelek, İlboğa and İlhan stand trial together with Oruç on the grounds that they helped him when he was caught, mistreated and then dropped off at the Turkey- Iran border by Iranian border patrols as he was trying to reach Europe via Armenia. Oruç was arrested on December 18, 2019 in Ağrı’s Doğubayazıt Province on the grounds that he entered the country in an illegal manner. Oruç remained in pre-trial detention for 11 months until being released pending trial during the third hearing which was held on November 9, 2020.

9 December Thursday

  • The 13th hearing of the trial where  journalists Metin Yoksu, Tunca Öğreten, Eray Saygın, Derya Okatan, Mahir Kanaat and Ömer Çelik face “making terrorist propaganda”, “hindrance or destruction of an information system, deletion or alteration of data”, “acting on behalf of a terrorist organization without being a member” and “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will be held at İstanbul 29th High Criminal Court, at 09:30. The indictment presents journalists’ reporting on the emails of Berat Albayrak, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources at the time, which were leaked by RedHack. 
  • The first hearing of the retrial where since shuttered Azadiya Welat newspaper’s reporter Çetin Kurşun faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will be held at Mardin 2nd High Criminal Court, at 09:50. Kurşun was detained on February 6, 2018 along with his brother and was later released on May 30, 2019. The 3rd Penal Chamber of Gaziantep Circuit of Appeals overturned Kurşun’s conviction for “making terrorist propaganda” arguing that Kurşun should have been convicted for “membership in a terrorist organization”. In its remitter, Gaziantep Appeals Court stated that Kurşun’s conviction for “propaganda” is unlawful. In the indictment, it is also argued that Kurşun has “organic connections” with the terrorist organization and published news reports following directives from the organization.