Journalists and academics bear the brunt of the massive crackdown on freedom of expression in Turkey. Scores of them are currently subject to criminal investigations or behind bars. This website is dedicated to tracking the legal process against them.
An investigation was launched against Ayşegül Doğan, a former program coordinator of the shuttered TV station İMC TV, by the Terror and Organized Crimes Investigation Bureau of the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on the grounds that she participated in the activities organized by the Democratic Society Congress (DTK).
The indictment, dated 23 May 2018, claimed that Doğan served in the DTK Permanent Assembly and DTK commissions, citing tape recordings of Doğan’s phone calls regarding some DTK activities. The indictment called for a prison sentence of up to 22.5 years for Doğan on the charge of “establishing or managing an armed terrorist organization” under Article 314/1 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).
The Diyarbakır 9th High Criminal Court accepted the indictment. The trial started with the first hearing held on 21 November 2018. Doğan stated that she attended the activities of DTK as part of her duties as a journalist, and that she made the phone calls included in the indictment within the scope of journalism activities. Throughout the trial, Doğan’s lawyers emphasized that the claim that she was a member of the DTK Permanent Assembly did not reflect the truth.
At the seventh hearing of the trial, held on 7 October 2020, the prosecutor presented their opinion on the merits. Instead of the charge of “establishing or managing an armed terrorist organization” in the indictment, the prosecutor, in their final opinion, asked for Doğan’s punishment on the charge of “membership of an armed terrorist organization,” which stipulates up to 15 years of imprisonment under TCK 314/2.
The final hearing in the trial was held at the Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court on 7 December 2020. Doğan did not attend the hearing, submitting an excuse letter due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the court panel did not accept Doğan’s excuse on the grounds that it was not supported by a medical report and issued their judgment in Doğan’s absence. Doğan was sentenced to 6 years and 3 months in prison on the charge of “membership of an armed terrorist organization.” In addition, the court ruled for the continuation of the international travel ban against Doğan until her sentence is finalized.
The conviction decision against Ayşegül Doğan is currently before a regional court of appeals, pending review.