Case MonitoringJournalist Defense

Trial of journalist Deniz Yücel adjourned until February

İstanbul – Fifth hearing of the trial where Die Welt reporter Deniz Yücel faces “spreading terrorist propaganda” and “provoking the people to hatred and animosity” charges was held at İstanbul 32nd High Criminal Court today. 

Journalist Deniz Yücel had presented his defense statement on May 10 in Berlin and the judge noted that Yücel’s defense has finally been received by the court and was offically added to the case-file. Yücel’s lawyer Veysel Ok took the floor first and noted that the case is at the decision phase and requested the court to seek the prosecutor’s final opinion. 

When given the floor, the prosecutor requested additional time to prepare the final opinion as to accusations. 

The court accepted the prosecution’s request and adjourned the trial until February 13, 2020.

After announcing the the interim decision, the Presiding Judge reacted to Deniz Yücel’s claim that he was released unlawfully just like he was detained unlawfully, noting that he has not released anyone unlawfully ever. The judge asked lawyer Veysel Ok, “Have you never received a release order with preliminary authorization? This exists in our criminal procedure code.” “Yes,” replied Ok, “I have received release orders with preliminary authorization in the past.” The judge then stated that Yücel’s defense was unlawful. Ok noted that he would touch upon this issue in his final defense statement.

‘Turkey has experienced the first case unlawful release from prison with me,’ Yücel had said

In the defense statement that he had presented on May 10 in Berlin, Yücel had stated that he endured psychological and physical abuse while he was detained. 

Yücel stated in his defense that his articles and news reports printed in Die Welt were presented as evidence of crime, and added: “The prosecutor’s method was not to find the offender of a crime in keeping with the norms of universal law; rather it was to declare me guilty and make up a crime. But the accusations about me are ludicrous; nothing about them can be taken seriously. I will not discredit myself here by explaining why my work is in keeping with general journalism standards; nor will I disrespect my own heartfelt and conscientious labors;I will not act as if I have to defend my news reports, observations and columns before the law. Journalism is not a crime, but criminalizing journalism is.”

Turkey witnessed numerous unlawful arrests in recent history. However, Turkey has experienced the first unlawful release from prison with me. There is no need for me to further describe this process to the panel of judges because they have been part of this process by serving as pawns of the government,” said Yücel and revealed that Turkish government and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had tried to conduct hostage negotiations on his behalf. 

Yücel ended his defense statement with the following words: 

“Countless people have paid graver prices for democracy, freedom and equality in Turkey. I have colleagues who lost their lives to practice journalism with dignity. My experience is insignificant compared to their suffering. Your verdict has no value. But this won’t go on like this. Those who played a role in my ordeal and in many other situations where thousands of citizens’ rights are violated will be held accountable before courts.”