The prosecutor requests imprisonment for documentarist Tekin for ‘membership in a terrorist organization’ but the organization is not specified

The prosecutor requests imprisonment for documentarist Tekin for  ‘membership in a terrorist organization’ but the organization is not specified
The prosecutor, who prepared the indictment against documentarist Sibel Tekin in 16 days claimed that Tekin “acted upon orders from the organization under the guise of filming a documentary.” Charging Tekin with “membership in a terrorist organization” and requesting imprisonment, the prosecutor did not specify the organization. The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office indicted documentarist Sibel Tekin, who was arrested for shooting footage for her documentary titled Karanlıkta başlayan hayat [The life which begins in darkness]. In the indictment, which was prepared in 16 days, it was claimed that Tekin, who was shooting the footage of schools and jitneys was actually “carrying out reconnaissance upon orders from the organization.” Claiming that Tekin is affiliated with numerous organizations, the prosecutor requested imprisonment for “membership in a terrorist organization” but failed to specify the organization. Referring to Article 5 of the Anti-Terror Law, the prosecutor also requested that the prison sentence of Tekin be increased by half.

The reason behind the tip-off: It is unusual to record videos in the dark

On December 15th, Tekin was reported to the police because she allegedly “shot the footage of correction officers and a police checkpoint.” The documentarist was subsequently arrested on December 17th. In the indictment, it was stated that the police were alerted because “it is considered unusual for someone to record videos in the dark.” Despite the fact that Tekin was shooting footage at around 06.45 am, the prosecutor claimed that “The witnesses tried to take the picture of the suspect but failed to do so because it was still dark outside.”

The prosecutor does not think that the documentarist is ‘professional’

Stating that there is footage of jitneys, stationery shops, schools and houses with their lights still on in the confiscated digital materials, the prosecutor claimed that there is no evidence regarding the documentary titled Karanlıkta başlayan hayat [The life which begins in darkness]. Despite the subject of the documentary which Tekin was working on, the prosecutor considered the documentarist unprofessional because she was shooting footage in the dark and argued that “A video recording in which people, vehicles and buildings are not visible is not consistent with the suspect’s claim that she is a professional documentarist.”

The prosecutor: Documentaries are shot during the day 

Citing the confiscated printed and digital materials, the prosecutor claimed that Tekin acted with “organizational affiliations” and “shot the footage of certain areas specifically according to the security camera footage.” The prosecutor claimed that Tekin, who has been producing documentaries since 1998, has been “using her occupational identity” on behalf of terrorist organizations. In order to support his claim that Tekin was carrying out reconnaissance for terrorist organizations, the prosecutor argued that “the video shooting and recording was done at hours during which she would not be noticed.” Failing to consider that it is also dark outside during rush hour, the prosecutor argued that documentaries are shot during the day. The prosecutor also evaluated the confiscated footage and argued that “Instead of footage of rush hour, well-lit areas and more symbolic places, the video recordings of which the quality is not good enough for the audience to make sense of contained footage which are of no importance and value to the audience.”

Tekin’s ‘connection to the organization’: Evrensel daily, Kızıldere and Berkin flag

The prosecutor cited the confiscated material to support Tekin’s alleged “affiliation with the organization”. Emphasizing that in the examined material there was footage of the Kızıldere commemoration and a flag on which Berkin Elvan’s name was inscribed, the prosecutor claimed that people in the examined footage are members of organizations such as the Revolutionary Workers and Peasants Party of Turkey (TİKKO) and the People's Liberation Party-Front of Turkey (THKP/C). Describing Evrensel and Atılım dailies as “newspapers with organizational affiliations and contents”, the prosecutor associated the book by journalist Arzu Demir titled Suruç’tan kalanların dilinden… Kobani’ye gitmek [From the mouths of those remained after Suruç … Going to Kobani] with the Marxist–Leninist Communist Party (MLKP); Kaldıraç magazine with the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C); Kadınların Kurtuluşu magazine with the PKK and Liseli Genç Umut magazine with THKP/C.

‘The suspect's gender as a woman and works in the field of communication are intended as camouflage’ 

Arguing that the examined material proves that Tekin’s connection with the mentioned organizations continues, the prosecutor claimed that “the suspect’s gender as a woman and her works in the field of communication are intended as camouflage for her activities within the organization.” Citing the cases in which Tekin has been acquitted, the prosecutor reasoned that “It has been established the orders of the organization have been fulfilled with regards to the offense of membership despite the fact that the reconnaissance was halted at the preparation stage.” *This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. The work may be used and redistributed for non-commercial purposes with proper attribution to the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA).

Medya ve Hukuk Çalışmaları Derneği (MLSA) haber alma hakkı, ifade özgürlüğü ve basın özgürlüğü alanlarında faaliyet yürüten bir sivil toplum kuruluşudur. Derneğimiz başta gazeteciler olmak üzere mesleki faaliyetleri sebebiyle yargılanan kişilere hukuki destek vermektedir.