Deniz Tekin, Diyarbakır – Yusuf Karataş was prohibited from overseas travel at his fourth hearing in court today. Further consideration of his case has been delayed until 2019.
Karataş, a columnist for Evrensel newspaper, was arrested on July 22 2017 for participating in workshops and panels organized by the Democratic Society Congress in Diyarbakır. He was released from custody after two months when legal objections to his detention were filed, but has been charged with “founding and leading a terrorist organization”. If Karataş is found guilty of the charges, he faces a prison sentence of between 15 and 22 ½ years.
Karataş’ fourth hearing at Diyarbakır 9th High Criminal Court began with the addition of new documents to the case file. The prosecution then reaffirmed its initial submissions and sought a continuation of the judicial control order over Karataş.
Karataş rose to state his case, arguing that the charges against him are politically motivated. Karataş observed that Yasın Aktay, a spokesperson for the Justice and Development Party (AKP), was present at all the events concerned but has faced no charges. Karataş also raised concerns about the judicial control order which prohibits him from leaving Diyarbakır, making it impossible for him to attend meetings necessary for his journalistic work.
Karataş’ lawyer, Yıldız İmrek, specified that the judicial control order prevents Karataş from accepting an invitation to speak to a union in Germany. İmrek requested that her client be acquitted, which the court refused. The court lifted the judicial control order which limited Karataş’ to Diyarbakır, but ruled that he still may not travel overseas. The court also chose to submit the recordings of Karataş’ participation at Democratic Society Congress events for forensic examination and adjourned the hearing until April 3 2019.
Updated: November 27 2018