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Trial of former Taraf journalists Baransu and Çoban adjourned until September

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İstanbul – Nineteenth hearing of the case where since shut down Taraf daily’s correspondent Mehmet Baransu and former Managing Editor Murat Şevki Çoban stand trial for “disclosing information that must be kept confidential for reasons relating to the security of the State through press” took place at Anadolu 10th High Criminal Court today. The judge decided to send the case file over to the Chief Prosecutor’s Office for the final opinion as to the accusations to be revised, the next hearing will take place on September 24th.

Defendant Mehmet Baransu, who is detained in Silivri Prison, was brought to the courtroom per the Court’s request. Murat Şevki Çoban’s lawyer Figen Çalıguşu and the intervening parties’ (National Security Council and National Intelligence Organization) lawyer Serhat Karğın were also present in the courtroom. Baransu’s lawyer, who has requested the court to wait for their arrival before beginning the hearing, did not show up at all.

Baransu presented his defense statement in writing. In this statement, Baransu claimed that the statute of limitations has passed for the news report titled “The Decision to end Gulen was reached at the National Security Council (MGK) in 2004” published in Taraf on 18 November 2013, the column titled “According to the new document Taraf obtained, profiling practices continued after 2010” published in Taraf on 2 December 2012, and the news report titled “The MGK plan is on” published in Taraf on 17 February 2014. Thus, Baransu argued that this case should be dismissed per the statute of limitations specified in the Press Law.

Baransu further stated that he has already stood trial for the news report on MİT’s profiling practices at the İstanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance and was acquitted, claiming that it is unlawful for him to be tried for the same news report for the second time. Baransu insisted that this case should be dismissed.

Baransu also reminded that the Supreme Court overturned a ruling in Erdem Gül’s case about the news report on MİT trucks, adding that MİT was also an intervening party in that trial and that his indictment too refers to the Law on National Intelligence Organization.

Çoban’s lawyer Çalıguşu noted that this is a case concerning the Press Law and reminded the court of the statute of limitations.

The court announced its interim decision and decided to send the case file over to the Chief Prosecutor’s Office for the final opinion as to the accusations to be revised.

The trial is adjourned until 24 September 2019, 11:30 AM.