Case Monitoring

The court rejected the request of Cengiz Çandar’s lawyer for immediate acquittal

MURAT KÖK*

The seventh hearing of the trial in which journalist Cengiz Çandar whom MLSA represents in court and activist Kemal Işıktaş face “praising an offense and the offender” charge was held in the İstanbul 30th Criminal Court of First Instance. The court rejected the request of Cengiz Çandar’s lawyer for immediate acquittal and decided to wait for the return of the rogatory letters issued to Sweden. The trial is adjourned until November 22, 2022.

The trial of journalist Cengiz Çandar and activist Kemal Işıktaş who face “praising an offense and the offender” charge as per Article 215 of the Turkish Criminal Code resumed today. Işıktaş and his lawyer did not attend the hearing. Çandar’s lawyer Erselan Aktan was present in the courtroom.

The judge opened the hearing by telling Çandar’s lawyer that the rogatory letters issued to Sweden are yet to come and asked if they request for Çandar’s file to be separated. Taking the floor, Çandar’s lawyer Erselan Aktan stated that the court should evaluate the social media post in question together with the fact that Çandar is a journalist and an investigative author and therefore his post should be considered within the confines of freedoms of expression and the press. Continuing his defense, lawyer Aktan stated: “It is clear that the elements of the offense stipulated in the Article 215 did not occur. The court has the authority to immediately acquit Cengiz Çandar considering the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and the Constitutional Court which dictate that courts should consider expressions together with their context and related facts.” Sharing with the court that Çandar lives in Sweden and because of the red tape in the country still could not provide his statements in a Swedish court, lawyer Ersan requested that the court should take into account procedural economy and rule for the immediate acquittal of journalist Çandar.

The prosecutor requested that the court reject the request for the immediate acquittal of Cengiz Çandar and wait for the return of the rogatory letters issued to Sweden.

Announcing his decision without taking a deliberation break, the judge decided to wait for the return of the rogatory letters issued to Sweden and adjourned the trial until November 22, 2022.

From the indictment

The indictment presents a 2017 tweet in which Çandar and Işıktaş commemorated Ayşe Deniz Karacagil who died fighting ISIS.

In the indictment, the prosecution claims that Karacagil died fighting for a terrorist organization in Raqqa and that praising her on social media would constitute an open threat to public peace.

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