Journalist Aziz Oruç who has been held in pre-trial detention since 16 June 2022 on the grounds of a criminal investigation by the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, is acquitted in the case in which he faced “membership in a terrorist organization” and “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” charge and in which he was held in pre-trial detention for 11 months.
The 11th hearing of the trial in which journalist Aziz Oruç whom MLSA represents in court, faces “membership in a terrorist organization” and “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” charges and the Dicle Fırat Journalists’ Association’s Co-Chair Dicle Müftüoğlu, Muhammet İkram Müftüoğlu, HDP Doğubayazıt Co-Chair Abdullah Ekelik, Turgay İlboğa and Yücel İlhan face “knowingly and willingly aiding and abetting a terrorist organization” charges was held in the Ağrı 2nd High Criminal Court.
Journalist Aziz Oruç who has been held in pre-trial detention together with his 15 colleagues since 16 June 2022, attended today’s hearing from the Diyarbakır 1st High Security Prison via the audio-visual conference system (SEGBİS). At the hearing, all defendants took to floor and requested acquittal. The defense lawyers also requested for their clients to be acquitted on the grounds that the elements of the offenses their clients have been charged with did not occur.
The prosecutor who took the floor after the defense repeated his final opinion as to the accusations which he submitted at the ninth hearing of the trial held on 28 September 2022. Arguing that “there is no sufficient and convincing evidence” to support the charge of “membership in a terrorist organization”, the prosecutor requested that journalist Aziz Oruç be acquitted of this charge. However, citing his social media posts, the prosecutor argued that it has been established that Oruç committed the offense he has been charged with, the prosecutor requested that Oruç be sentenced for “openly making propaganda for a terrorist organization in a consecutive manner.”
In his final opinion, the prosecutor argued that as there is no evidence to support the claim of Oruç’s membership in a terrorist organization, Muhammet İkram Müftüoğlu, Abdullah Ekelik, Dicle Müftüoğlu, Turgay İlboğa and Yücel İlhan cannot be sentenced for “knowingly and willingly aiding and abetting a terrorist organization.” Therefore, the prosecutor reasoned that Muhammet İkram Müftüoğlu, Abdullah Ekelik, Dicle Müftüoğlu, Turgay İlboğa and Yücel İlhan who had saved Oruç from freezing to death, should be sentenced for “protecting an offender” (Article 283/1 of the Turkish Penal Code) as Oruç had standing arrest warrants against him.
Announcing its decision after a brief deliberation break, the court ruled to acquit journalist Aziz Oruç of “membership in a terrorist organization” charge. Reasoning that it is a repeating case, the court also ruled to dismiss the case brought against journalist Oruç on propaganda charges.
The court sentenced journalist Dicle Müftüoğlu, Muhammet İkram Müftüoğlu, Abdullah Ekelik, Turgay İlboğa and Yücel İlhan who saved journalist Oruç from freezing to death, to 5 months in prison for “protecting an offender.”
The court decided to defer the announcement of the verdicts for Yücel İlhan, Tugay İlboğa and Muhammed İkram Müftüoğlu and ruled to suspend the prison sentence imposed upon Dicle Müftüoğlu.
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