Case Monitoring

Journalist Vedat Örüç is sentenced to prison on ‘terrorist propaganda’ charges

Kocaeli – The seventh hearing of the trial where journalist Vedat Örüç whom MLSA represented in court, faced “terrorist propaganda” charges was held at Kocaeli 5th High Criminal Court on October 20th. The court sentenced Örüç to 1 year 6 months 22 days in prison and deferred the announcement of the verdict. 

The trial where the indictment presented the tweets and retweets Örüç had shared on his personal account during “the Operation Peace Spring” and a picture and a book found in his apartment during a police raid as evidence against the journalist was held at  Kocaeli 5th High Criminal Court. Journalist Örüç attended the hearing with his lawyer from İstanbul via SEGBİS. The prosecutor was first to speak at the hearing, and he requested punishment for Örüç for the crimes he was charged with.

Örüç had the floor after the prosecutor and requested his acquittal on the grounds that the accusations leveled against him had no legal basis. After Örüç, lawyer Erselan Aktan had the floor and argued “There are three posts in the indictment. One of the posts is footage by a foreign news agency, which my client clearly quoted. There are no organizations named in the concerned posts and thus no basis for a sentence.” The judge interrupted Aktan when he emphasized the previous rulings by the Court of Cassation and said that “Let us take the statements on the merits of the crime without getting too political.”

After Aktan’s statements, the written defense of Örüç’s other lawyer, Şafak Aki was read. In his defense, Aki argued that “My client’s posts were shared to contribute to the public debate and to inform the public. We request acquittal considering the recent amendments to the seventh article of the Anti Terror Law which states that ‘expressions which are meant to inform and criticize do not constitute a crime’.”

After five minutes of deliberation, the court announced its decision. The court sentenced journalist Örüç to 1 year 6 months 22 days in prison on the charges of “making terrorist propaganda” and deferred the announcement of the verdict.