Journalist İdris Sayılğan released from prison

Journalist İdris Sayılğan released from prison
Journalist İdris Sayılğan, a reporter for the shuttered Dicle News Agency, was released from prison after more than three years of incarceration on the evening of 27 November following an appellate court ruling.
Sayılğan, who was arrested on 26 October 2016 on charges of membership in a terrorist organization, was released from Trabzon Prison following a decision of 2nd Criminal Chamber of the Erzurum Regional Court.
Sayılğan's release comes after lawyers from the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA), which defends the journalist, appealed an 8 year and 3 month sentence handed down to the journalist by the Muş 2nd High Criminal Court in January of 2019 on charges of "membership in a terrorist organization." The only evidence against the journalist were transcripts of phone conversations between him and his sources.
Ruling for Sayilğan's release, issued by Erzurum Regional Court 2nd Criminal Chamber on 27 November 2019.

ECtHR application

In June 2019, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) requested the Turkish government’s defense in the case of journalist Sayılğan, following an application by lawyers from the  Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) and the Media Legal Defense Initiative (MLDI).

In its communique, the ECtHR asked about Sayılğan’s application to the Constitutional Court, specifically inquiring if the duration of this procedure has been compatible with the “short period” condition provided for in Article 5(4) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which secures the right to liberty and security.

The court also asked if Sayılğan’s remand in custody pending trial constitutes a violation of Article 5(1) of the Convention, further inquiring whether the pieces of evidence included in the file at the moment of detaining the interested party enough to convince an impartial observer that he might have committed the offense that he was accused of.

Question on political imprisonment

In another question addressed to the Turkish government, the ECtHR asked if Sayılğan’s freedom of speech was infringed, and if it was, whether this violation was provided for by law and justified within the meaning of Article 10(2) ECHR, which protects the right to freedom of expression.

The court also asked whether the privation of freedom imposed on the petitioner in this case, allegedly in accordance with Article 5 of the ECHR, enforced regardless of Article 18 of the Convention, for a purpose other than the one contemplated by said article, which regulates the limitation on use of restriction on rights. This means that the Court is inquiring whether Sayılğan’s detainment is caused by any political motives.

In October this year, a coalition of 10 international press freedom and journalism organizations intervened at the ECtHR in the case of Sayılğan.


Medya ve Hukuk Çalışmaları Derneği (MLSA) haber alma hakkı, ifade özgürlüğü ve basın özgürlüğü alanlarında faaliyet yürüten bir sivil toplum kuruluşudur. Derneğimiz başta gazeteciler olmak üzere mesleki faaliyetleri sebebiyle yargılanan kişilere hukuki destek vermektedir.