Upcoming Trials

Journalism and freedom of expression trials: Week of July 4

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

July 4th, Monday

  • The third hearing of the trial in which the Executive Board Member of DİSK Basın İş and journalist Ali Ergin Demirhan faces “insulting the president” charge will be held in the İstanbul 55th Criminal Court of First Instance, at 09:25. The indictment presents a social media post which Demirhan had shared on his personal account after a Russian airstrike on February 27, 2020 which killed 33 soldiers of the Turkish Armed Forces. In the post, Demirhan had criticized the Syria policy of the government.
  • The sixth hearing of the trial in which 52 students of Boğaziçi University face “defying the Law no. 2911 on Assemblies and Demonstrations” and “deprivation of liberty” charges will be held in the İstanbul 49th Criminal Court of First Instance, at 10:00. The indictment presents the social media posts with the tag #bundansonrasıbizde and the slogans the students shouted as evidence against them.

July 5th, Tuesday

  • The second hearing of the trial in which journalist Nurcan Yalçın faces “aiding an organization knowingly and willingly” charge will be held in the Diyarbakır 4th High Criminal Court, at 09:40. The indictment presents the interviews Yalçın had conducted between 2015 and 2016 in Diyarbakır’s Sur district and the statements of the people interviewed as evidence against Yalçın and requests up to 15 years imprisonment. Claiming that Yalçın “aided the terrorist organization without belonging to its hierarchical structure”, the prosecutor argues that Yalçın’s journalistic activities cannot be considered within the boundaries of freedom of expression as they constitute “threat to the territorial integrity of the nation.” On May 17th, at the first hearing of the trial, the prosecutor presented his final opinion and requested that Yalçın be sentenced to prison for up to 15 years.

July 6th, Wednesday

  • The fourth hearing of the trial in which the former MP of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Sırrı Süreyya Önder faces “publicly degrading the Turkish Nation, State of the Turkish Republic, the Government of the Republic of Turkey and the judicial bodies” [Art. 301 of the Turkish Penal Code]” charge will be held in the Diyarbakır 4th Criminal Court of First Instance, at 10:50. The indictment presents Önder’s 2016 testimony at the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office and his speech at the rally organized to protest HDP Co-chairs and MPs being arrested as evidence for the charge. In his testimony at the prosecutor’s office, Önder said that “I have no doubt about you in person or mean any disrespect towards you. But it is not possible for me to accept this prosecution, which was initiated because Erdoğan, who has a shady political past, ordered it.” Önder was sentenced to 10 months in prison for “insulting the president” on the grounds that he had insulted Erdoğan with the word “shady.” The indictment also presents Önder’s expression in a speech on November 5, 2016 where he said “The court does not belong to the qadi.”

July 7th, Thursday

  • The second hearing of the trial in which four politicians, including the Co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Van Fikret Doğan faces “openly inciting the public to hatred and hostility” charge will be held in the Van 4th Criminal Court of First Instance, at 09:05. The indictment presents a banner which was hung up on the İpekyolu office of the HDP and in which the racially motivated murder of seven members of the Dedeoğlu family in Konya was protested. Arguing that the alleged offense was committed, the prosecutor claims that “‘it was reported that there was a 12 years of hostility between the perpetrator and the slained” and that there is no evidence that the massacre was racially motivated.