Expression Interrupted

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.

Court rules to release jailed lawyer and academic Hanifi Barış

Court rules to release jailed lawyer and academic Hanifi Barış

Barış, who was one of the signatories of 2016’s Academics for Peace declaration, was jailed in July on account of his social media posts 


Jailed academic and lawyer Hanifi Barış on 18 September appeared before an Istanbul court for the first hearing of a trial where he is charged with “conducting propaganda for a terrorist organization” on account of his social media posts.

At the end of the first hearing, the 29th High Criminal Court of Istanbul ruled to release Barış from pretrial detention and adjourned the trial until December. The court imposed an international travel ban on Barış.

Barış and his lawyers were in attendance at the hearing, monitored by P24, as well as Amnesty Turkey and People’s Democratic Congress (HDK) co-spokesperson Onur Hamzaoğlu, also a Peace Academic.

Barış had reported to a police station early July to give his statement as part of an investigation concerning his social media posts. There, he was referred to a prosecutor, who referred him to a court for arrest. The court jailed Barış pending trial on grounds that he was a “flight risk.”

Addressing the court during Tuesday’s hearing at the Istanbul Courthouse in Çağlayan, Barış said he was a PhD student in the field of political science and his subject was the Kurdish issue. He said the social media posts for which he stands accused were academic articles and news stories.

He added that the headlines of news articles he shared on social media were made to look as though they were his comments in the indictment, Barış said all photos that were held as evidence against him in the case file consisted of visual material that accompanied news stories and academic articles.

Defense lawyers then addressed the court, rejecting allegations in the indictment that Barış was acting as a representative for Kurdish militia.

Defense attorney Mehmet Doğan told the court that the latest social media post by Barış in the case file was from 2017, and that he had very few followers on social media, and that his posts did not appeal to a large audience because they were usually in English.

The defense lawyers requested Barış’s release and his eventual acquittal. The prosecutor then addressed the court, demanding that Barış be released under judicial control measures.

The court announced its interim decision after a brief recess, ruling for Barış’s release from pretrial detention under judicial control measures in the form of an international travel ban and reporting to a police station once a week to give his signature. The court set 13 December 2018 as the date for the next hearing.