This week, the hearings of several journalism and freedom of expression trials will be held. Below is the list of these hearings:
6 January Thursday
- The fourth hearing of the trial where Mesopotamia Agency (MA) reporters Adnan Bilen, Cemil Uğur and Zeynep Durgut, Jinnews reporter Şehriban Abi and freelance journalist Nazan Sala face “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will be held at Van 5th High Criminal Court, at 10:00. Bilen, Uğur, Abi and Sala were arrested on October 9, 2020 after their news report and were held in pre-trial detention for nearly six months before being released pending trial at the first hearing held on April 2, 2021. In their news report, journalists broke the story of how villagers in Van’s Çatak district were tortured by the security forces and that Osman Şiban and Servet Turgut were thrown off from a helicopter by soldiers. It was later found out that illegal evidence was cited against the journalists in the indictment. Journalist Sala, who is among the journalists whom MLSA represents in court, faces additional “terror propaganda” charges. Sala was indicted on November 18, 2021. In the new indictment prepared by the Van Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, Sala has been charged with additional “membership in a terrorist organization” and “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” charges because of an investigation led by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in 2009.
- The 13th 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 “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” charges will be held at Diyarbakır 8th High Criminal Court, at 11:10. 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. At the 12th hearing held on December 14, the prosecutor requested that journalist Doğru be sentenced with a heavy life sentence.
- The fourth hearing of the trial where journalist Caner Taşpınar faces “insult” charges will be held at İstanbul 11th Criminal Court of First Instance, at 14:00. Taşpınar is on trial for his 2020 book titled Son-in-Law: Fethullahists In-Laws in the AKP. Taşpınar is put on trial after the former Turkish Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman and AKP founding members İhsan Arslan and Ali İhsan Arslan who were mentioned in the book, filed complaints against Taşpınar.
7 January Friday
- The first hearing of the trial where 14 Boğaziçi University students face “defying the Law on Assemblies and Demonstrations no. 2911”, “deprivation of liberty” and “hijacking or seizure of transport vehicles” charges will be held at İstanbul 22nd Criminal Court of First Instance, at 09:30. The students were detained on October 4th while protesting against the appointment of yet another rector to their universities. Two of the students, Caner Perit Özen and Ersin Berke Gök, were arrested on October 6th and have been in pre-trial detention since. Mehmet Naci İnci who was appointed as rector after Melih Bulu is listed as the injured party in the indictment while three security guards are listed as the complainants. One of the security guards was also heard as a witness in the trial, where seven Boğaziçi University students face “inciting the public to hatred and hostility” charges because of a protest exhibition organized against the appointment of Melih Bulu as the rector.