Case Monitoring

Journalists İdris Sayılğan and Naci Kaya acquitted of “trespassing a military zone”

Edirne – Mesopotamia News Agency (MA) reporters İdris Sayılğan and Naci Kaya who are accused of “trespassing a military zone” were acquitted of the charge at their third hearing which was held at Edirne 8th Criminal Court of First Instance.

During the second hearing of the trial which was held on January 28, the witness testimony of the law enforcement officer who conducted the detainment of the journalists was taken. The officer had stated that the journalists entered the military zone in secret, based on which the prosecution requested the punishment of the journalists.

Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) lawyers who represents Sayılğan in the case objected the statement by noting that the journalists were taken into custody while they were following a news story with their cameras in their hands, and that they could not have intended to enter secretly into a zone where thousands of immigrants and security officials were present. Remarking that many similar cases were filed in Edirne, most of which resulted in acquittal decisions, the lawyers presented the relevant decisions of other criminal courts of first instance in Edirne.

Following the defense statements, the judge ruled to acquit journalists Sayılğan and Kaya of “trespassing a military zone” charges on the grounds that they lacked “criminal intent” and that there existed “no hard and credible evidence.”

Case background

Following the death of 33 Turkish Army soldiers on February 27, 2020, Turkey had declared that refugees would be allowed to enter Europe. Following the official statement, thousands of people set out on a journey towards the borders, however they were not allowed to enter European countries. One such border gate is located in Pazarkule, Edirne. Here, refugees were met with the intervention of Greek military forces, and thus forced to return. Many journalists were present on site to cover the events, and were detained on the grounds that they were “trespassing a military zone.” A number of lawsuits were filed against these journalists, most of which resulted in their acquittal.

Among those detained were journalists Sayılğan and Kaya. Sayılğan was detained and arrested on the grounds that he crossed the border despite the “ne exeat regno” order in his name. He was released after one day, as he was there as a journalist to cover the events, and not to cross the border.