Bitlis – Sixteenth hearing of the trial where journalist Uğur Yılmaz, whom MLSA defends in court, faces “membership in a terrorist organization” and “terrorist propaganda” charges for his journalistic activities was held at Bitlis 2nd High Criminal Court today.
The prosecutor had presented their final opinion as to the accusations during the previous hearing, which was held on October 22. The prosecutor demanded Yılmaz’s conviction for both charges.
Uğur Yılmaz attended today’s hearing via SEGBİS video-conference link from Elazığ Closed Prison. The prosecutor repeated the opinion and demanded Yılmaz’s conviction. Yılmaz’s lawyers Safter Erdil, Dilan Kanat and Mustafa Murtazaoğlu were present in the courtroom and each presented their defense statements.
When the judge asked Yılmaz for his final words, Yılmaz stated: “I want to present my statement before the court, I cannot express myself clearly via SEGBİS. I demanded to appear before the court physically many times. That is my only statement for now.” The judge said that this SEGBİS issue was already discussed and resolved, asked if Yılmaz had any other points to make. Yılmaz replied, “No, I do not have any other remarks or demands to make other than my demand to appear before your court physically.” Yılmaz did not say anything else in his defense.
Following a short recess, the court announced its verdict in the case. The court ruled to acquit Yılmaz for “propaganda” charges but sentenced him to 6 years 10 months and 15 days. The court ruled to keep Yılmaz in prison while his sentence is reviewed to be upheld by the appeal court.
Who is Uğur Yılmaz?
Journalist Uğur Yılmaz is tried whilst in detention and has been detained since July 17, 2017. Yılmaz used to work at the Bitlis Municipality’s Press Bureau. His reporting and social media posts from that period is presented as evidence against him during this trial.