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.
Mezopotamya news agency (MA) Van correspondent Dindar Karataş was arrested during a raid on his home in Van on 24 November 2020 as part of an investigation launched by the Erzurum Chief Public Prosecutor's Office.
Karataş was taken to Erzurum and brought to the courthouse on 26 November. During his questioning by the prosecutor, Karataş was asked about his phone calls with sources and some of his reports. Karataş was jailed pending trial on the charge of "membership in a terrorist organization" and sent to the Erzurum H Type Closed Prison.
On the same day as Karataş was detained, the agency's Van office was raided and searched by anti-terror police.
The indictment against Karatas was issued on 30 November 2020. The 17-page indictment, issued by the Erzurum Chief Public Prosecutor's Office, cited tapes of Karataş’s phone calls with news sources and his reports as evidence for the "membership in an armed terrorist organization" accusation against him.
The indictment revealed that Karatas' phone was tapped for six months from December 2019 as part of the investigation against him.
Release pending trial
The first hearing of Karataş’s trial was held on 9 February 2021 at the 3rd High Criminal Court of Erzurum. Issuing an interim ruling at the end of the hearing, the court released Karataş under an international travel ban and set 27 May 2021 as the date for his second hearing.