Upcoming Trials

Journalism and freedom of expression trials: Week of September 5

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

September 6th, Tuesday

  • The 19th hearing of the trial in which journalist Abdullah Kaya whom MLSA represents in court, faces “membership in a terrorist organization” and “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” charges will be held in the Ağrı 2nd High Criminal Court, at 09:35. In the indictment, the footage Kaya had recorded at events he had covered in 2014-2015, social media posts he had shared on his personal account and anonymous witness statements are presented as evidence against the journalist. In addition to these, the prosecutor who was later appointed as the prosecutor of Sözcü Newspaper trial, presents a photograph of Kaya which was taken at a Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) event as evidence for the membership charge. 
  • The first hearing of the trial in which lawyer Efkan Bolaç faces “insulting the president” charge will be held in the İstanbul 52nd Criminal Court of First Instance, at 09:35. In the indictment, two social media posts that were claimed to have been discovered during an investigation which was initiated after the police were tipped off, are presented as evidence. The two posts Bolaç had shared on his personal Instagram account are cartoons by Carlos Latuff. The cartoons in question are about the Soma Mining Massacre and Berkin Elvan who was killed by the police during the Gezi Park protests. The prosecutor claims that by sharing these cartoons Bolaç “publicly insulted the president.” The indictment also includes the information that the investigation launched over two tweets by Bolaç on “degrading Turkish Nation, State of Turkish Republic, the Organs and Institutions of the State” suspicion resulted in a decision of non-prosecution as the Ministry of Justice denied permission for this suspicion to be investigated. 
  • The second hearing of the trial in which the Co-Chair of the Ankara Branch of the Human Rights Association (İHD) Fatin Kanat faces “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” charge will be held in the Ankara 25th High Criminal Court, at 13:45. The 2022 indictment presents nine press statements made by the Freedom for Ill Prisoners Initiative in 2019 and a press statement made by the Justice for Roboski Initiative in 2018. The prosecutor claims that the press statements made in front of the İHD Ankara building were made “as per orders from the terrorist organization.”

September 8th, Thursday

  • The ninth hearing of the trial in which journalists Sadık Topaloğlu and Sadiye Eser face “membership in a terrorist organization” charge will be held in the İstanbul 22nd High Criminal Court, at 10:00. The indictment presents the records of journalists’ travels abroad and a guest list for an award ceremony as evidence against the journalists. Eser and Topaloğlu were detained on Nov 29, 2019 shortly after they left the MA’s office and were arrested on Dec 3, 2019. Journalists were released at the first hearing held on March 26th, 2020. At the eighth hearing of the trial held on May 12, 2022, the prosecutor presented his final opinion as to the accusations and requested that Topaloğlu and Eser be sentenced for “membership in a terrorist organization” citing witness statements against journalists, travel records and search-seizure reports. 
  • The fourth hearing of the trial in which BirGün daily’s Politics Editor Mehmet Emin Kurnaz faces “insulting the president” and “insulting a public official” charges will be held in the İstanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance, at 11:00. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his governing partner Devlet Bahçeli are listed as “victims” in the indictment. The indictment presents the caption “Çetelerin İktidarı [the Government of the Gangs]” which was placed in a collage that is made up of the pictures of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Devlet Bahçeli, Alaattin Çakıcı and Sedat Peker. The prosecutor who included the definition of the word “çete [gang]” in the indictment, claims that Devlet Bahçeli is a public official. Prosecutor Türkşad Kunthan Uçuk who has been assigned to the case file at the third hearing presented his final opinion as to the accusations at the same hearing. Arguing that the dictionary defines the word “çete [gang]” as “a group of people who got together for illegal activities or to intimidate those around them”, prosecutor Uçuk requested that Kurnaz be sentenced for “insulting the president” and “insulting a public official” as he had hurt the “honor and dignity” of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and MP Devlet Bahçeli by using that word.

September 9th, Friday

  • The 10th hearing of the trial in which journalist Ziya Çiçekçi faces “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” charge will be held in the İstanbul 33rd High Criminal Court, at 11:25. The indictment presents 13 tweets which were shared on the Twitter account of Yeni Özgür Politika daily as evidence against the journalist.