Last Week

Last week in free speech: Week of May 6 – 10


Several journalism and free speech trials were held last week. Below is a list of the hearings monitored by Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) last week:

Court keeps Jinha reporter in prison, adjourns trial until July

Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court ruled to keep journalist Kibriye Evren, who faces up to 20 years in prison on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization” and “conducting propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organization” over her news reports and social media posts, in detention. Evren’s next hearing is scheduled for 18 July.

Prosecutor demanded photojournalist Çağdaş Erdoğan’s punishment for terrorist propaganda

Fifth hearing of the trial where photojournalist Çağdaş Erdoğan faces “membership in a terrorist organization” and “terrorist propaganda charges” was held at İstanbul 33rd High Criminal Court. The prosecutor presented his final opinion as to the accusations, Erdoğan’s lawyer Figen Çalıkuşu demanded extra time to prepare her final defense statement. Court accepted this request and adjourned the trial until 13 June.

Journalist Cansu Pişkin sentenced to 10 months in prison

Former Evrensel reporter Cansu Pişkin is sentenced to 10 years in prison for “disclosing or publishing the identity of a public official on anti-terrorist duty” and “identifying such persons as a target” in her news report titled “Special Prosecutor for Boğaziçi Students,” court deferred the sentence.

Journalist Hasan Cemal receives judicial fine for his column on Silvan

The court announced its verdict in the trial where journalist Hasan Cemal faced “terrorist propaganda” charges for a column he wrote in 2015. The court sentenced Cemal to 3 months and 22 days in prison and converted the sentence to a judicial fine of 3600 Turkish Liras.

Trial of 7 journalists who shared news report on general adjourned

Trial of seven journalists who face charges of “turning a counterterrorism official into a target” for sharing news reports about a lieutenant general who was corps commander overseeing the Sur district of Diyarbakır province in 2015 and 2016 continued at the Diyarbakır 9th High Criminal Court. The court adjourned the hearing until 2 October to wait for the execution of an arrest warrant issued for Selim Gönenç, who is the only defendant who is not a journalist and who  so far hasn’t testified in the trial.

Trial of Özgür Gündem staff adjourned until 21 May

The trial of the co-editors-in-chief of the shuttered Özgür Gündem daily, the newspaper’s managing editor bearing legal responsibility for its content and 20 of its columnists was held at the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court. The court accepted the defence’s request for extra time and adjourned the trial until 21 May.

Court rules to keep Mehmet Gündem in prison

Journalist Mehmet Gündem, who is tried whilst in detention on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization,” appeared before the Istanbul 35th High Criminal Court. The court ruled to keep the journalist in prison and adjourned the trial until 29 May, the defense is expected to submit their final testimony then.

“KCK Press” trial adjourned until 22 October

Sixteenth hearing of the “KCK Press” trial where 46 journalists and media workers face terror-related charges was held at İstanbul 3rd High Criminal Court. The trial has been dragging for seven years and not much progress was made during this hearing either. The court decided to wait for the missing documents in the case file to be received and adjourned the trial until 22 October.

Die Welt journalists’ revelations point to physical abuse, torture in Silivri prison

Die Welt correspondent Deniz Yücel presented his defense statement at Amtsgericht Berlin-Tiergarten Court on Friday. This statement will be relayed to the 32nd High Criminal Court in İstanbul where he is on trial for “making propaganda of a terrorist organization” and “inciting the public to hatred” charges.