Journalist Sedat Yılmaz released after 230 days in prison

Journalist Sedat Yılmaz released after 230 days in prison


Sedat Yılmaz, editor for the Mesopotamia Agency (MA), was released today (14 December) in his first trial after being detained for 230 days due to his journalistic activities.

During the trial, the presiding judge questioned the credibility of the secret witness whose statements had initiated the case against Yılmaz, noting inconsistencies in the testimony.

Yılmaz faced charges of "establishing and leading a terrorist organization" and "being a member of a terrorist organization" in the Diyarbakır 4th High Criminal Court. His detention took place at Sincan No. 2 High-Security Prison.

Lawyers Resul Temur, Şule Recepoğlu, and MLSA Co-Director Veysel Ok represented Yılmaz in court.

The trial, observed by Yılmaz's family and numerous journalists, was also attended by representatives from various journalist associations, including Serdar Altan, Co-President of the Dicle Fırat Journalists Association (DFG), and Gökhan Durmuş, General President of the Turkey Journalists Union (TGS).

The trial was delayed for two and a half hours due to technical issues with the Audio and Visual Informatics System (SEGBİS) used for witness testimonies. In his defense, Yılmaz criticized the indictment as an affront to democracy and a contradiction to his constitutional rights, highlighting his long career covering significant events in Turkey.

Yılmaz's defense challenged the reliability of secret witnesses and highlighted the lack of concrete evidence linking him to any organizational activities. He emphasized his journalistic work and questioned how his routine activities could be construed as criminal.

Attorneys Recepoğlu and Ok reinforced his arguments, pointing out inconsistencies in the witnesses' statements and the lack of substantial evidence in the prosecution's claims.

Following the defense statements, the court ruled to release Yılmaz and postponed the case to February 29, 2024.

Yılmaz was initially detained during house raids in Diyarbakır on April 29, 2023, as part of an Ankara-based investigation. The indictment included various activities and communications of Yılmaz as evidence of his alleged crimes, which his defense strongly contested.

The case has drawn significant attention to the state of press freedom in Turkey, particularly concerning the treatment of Kurdish journalists and media.


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.