Case Monitoring

Journalist and author Zekine Türkeri is sentenced to 1 year 6 months 22 days in prison

EYLEM SONBAHAR*

The court sentenced journalist and author Zekine Türkeri to 1 year 6 months and 22 days in prison for “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” over social media posts which were spotted during a “virtual patrol” in 2019.

The second hearing of the trial where author and journalist Zekine Türkerim whom MLSA represent in court, faces “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” charge was held today in the 13th High Criminal Court at the Çağlayan Courthouse. Türkeri attended the hearing together with his lawyer Erselan Aktan. Author and historian Ayşe Hür was among those who monitored the hearing.

Türkeri was the first to take the floor and she requested that some documents which show her state of health be included in the case file. Reiterating her statement she had provided at the prosecutor’s office, Türkeri denied the accusations. Türkeri also stated that she does not accept the deferment of the announcement of the verdict nor the suspension of the sentence. 

Taking the floor after Türkeri, Attorney Erselan Aktan stated that the European Court of Human Rights consistently found violations regarding the practice of the prosecutors to compile social media posts similar to those in this case file and present them as evidence for the charges in the indictments they prepare as well as the local courts’ tendency to convict individuals over these posts.  Attorney Aktan continued his defense as follows: “The client is a journalist and the social media posts in questions were shared to inform others. Also, while the social media posts in question date back to 2019, both the police report and the indictment were prepared in 2020. Furthermore, the social media posts included in the report and the indictment were found with the method of ‘virtual patrol.’ In 2019, the Constitutional Court found this method to be unlawful and revoked. Therefore, posts which are presented as evidence in the indictment have been obtained in an unlawful manner.” 

Arguing that “posts shared as retweets cannot be considered as a ground for sentencing”, Attorney Aktan requested that Türkeri be acquitted of the charge.

The prosecutor reiterated his final opinion as to the accusations he presented to the court at the first hearing and requested that Türkeri be sentenced for the propaganda charge.

Announcing its verdict after a break, the court sentenced Türkeri to 1 year 6 months and 22 days in prison for “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” reasoning that it has been established that Türkeri has committed said offence. The court ruled not to suspend the sentence nor defer the announcement of the verdict.

*This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. The work may be used and redistributed for non-commercial purposes with proper attribution to MLSA.