Journalist Onur Öncü is acquitted in the case which was heard via general trial procedure after Süleyman Soylu’s lawyer challenged the acquittal judgment which the court handed down after hearing the case via simple trial procedure.
The first hearing of the trial in which journalist Onur Öncü whom MLSA represents in court faces “insulting a public official” charge was held in the Küçükçekmece 22nd Criminal Court of First Instance. In the indictment which lists the Minister of Internal Affairs Süleyman Soylu as the “injured party”, the prosecutor presents the May 3, 2021 broadcast on #ÖZGÜRÜZ’s Youtube channel titled “Ülkenin başına Hortum Süleyman kesilmek isteyen bir İçişleri Bakanı var!” which contained a reference to an infamous police officer who tortured detainees by beating them up with a hose [hortum] as evidence against Öncü.
Court: No remarks in the video which can be considered insulting to Soylu
Adjudicating the case on 26 July 2022, the Küçükçekmece 22nd Criminal Court of First Instance had reasoned that the elements of the offense Öncü was charged with did not occur and acquitted the journalist. In its reasoned judgment, the court emphasized that Öncü had no remarks in the video which can be considered insulting to Soylu and the remarks in the video should be considered “harsh criticism” in the light of the case law of the Court of Cassation and the European Court of Human Rights.
‘The remarks in the indictment should be considered as harsh criticism’
Onur Öncü attended today’s hearing with his lawyer Emine Özhasar while Soylu’s lawyer did not attend the hearing after having submitted his excuse. The judge rejected the excuse of Soylu’s lawyers and gave the floor to Öncü who stated that “I was acquitted in this case which was heard via simple trial procedure. I do not accept the charges brought against me. The remarks in the video should be considered as harsh criticism and I do not accept the deferment of the announcement of the verdict.”
The prosecutor presented his final opinion as to the accusations. Arguing that the elements of the offense Öncü has been charged with did not occur, the prosecutor requested that Öncü be acquitted.
Taking the floor after the prosecutor, lawyer Özhasar emphasized freedom of expression and stated that “We agree with the prosecutor’s opinion and request our client to be acquitted.”
Reasoning that the elements of the offense Öncü has been charged with did not occur, the court ruled to acquit journalist Onur Öncü
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