İstanbul – Trial where Mesopotamia Agency (MA) reporter İdris Sayılğan faces “making terrorist propaganda” charges was held at Muş 2nd High Criminal Court today. Sayılğan, whom the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) defends, was not present at the hearing himself, whereas his lawyer attended via the judicial video-conference link, SEGBİS from İstanbul Courthouse. The defense lawyer noted that there are many indictments prepared against and investigations going on about his client. He said, “The exact same charges brought here are already existent in the 2017/242 numbered case file before another Muş court, which indicates double jeopardy.” The lawyer requested time for the decision to defer the announcement of the verdict, which was overruled by the panel of judges.
“Court of Cassation regards ‘public interest’ as a necessary criterion for news reporting”
Sayılğan’s lawyer re-read the news reports and social media posts penned by his client and reminded the panel of judges of the legal framework provided by the Court of Cassation for news reporting. He said, “Sayılğan’s news reports contain the whole of these criteria, of which we would like to emphasize the principle of ‘best interest of the public.’”
“Mainstream media reported on the same incidents in a similar manner”
The defense lawyer added: “Journalist Sayılğan has followed the social incidents existent on the national agenda, and reported on them accordingly to the aforementioned criteria. These incidents were also reported by the mainstream media, in a very similar manner. No investigations were initiated regarding these media outlets, nor should they be initiated. In this light and according to the prohibition against ‘double jeopardy’ this proceeding should have not been initiated against my client.”
After a short recess, the court ruled that Sayılğan committed the offense “consecutively” and sentenced him to four years in prison.