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.

ETHA journalist İsminaz Temel remains behind bars

ETHA journalist İsminaz Temel remains behind bars

İsminaz Temel, in pretrial detention for over a year, is among 23 defendants facing terrorism-related charges in the case

An Istanbul court on 29 November ruled to keep jailed journalist İsminaz Temel, an editor for the Etkin news agency (ETHA), behind bars after 13 months in pretrial detention.

Temel is among 23 defendants facing terrorism-related charges in the case, overseen by the 27th High Criminal Court of Istanbul. At the end of the second hearing, the court ruled to keep Temel behind bars, while releasing three of the six jailed defendants.

P24 monitored the second hearing on 29 November, during which Temel gave her defense statement. Explaining that she has been a journalist since 2006, Temel told the court that the accusations against her in the case file were based in their entirety on her journalistic work.

Temel said: “In all the photographs [in the case file] I am seen with my camera, and holding my pen and notebook. This whole case file substantiates the fact that I am a journalist. Allegedly, during a rally organized by the HDP [People’s Democratic Party], I was wearing a vest with the ESP [Socialist Party of the Oppressed] logo. Then why is there not a single photo proving this allegation? I was there with all the other journalists covering that rally that day. I recorded the entire event from start to end on camera, and then I wrote a news story about it.”

About her continued detention, Temel said her requests for her release pending trial were being rejected by the court on the grounds that she “might tamper with evidence.” “No new evidence has been added to the file for the past 13 months, so what could I possibly tamper with?” Temel added.

She continued: “As for the ‘flight risk’ claim, I can definitely say that in this case, where I know I am absolutely right, I will continue until the end [of the proceedings] to defend my stance. I am sure that all defendants in this case, including myself, are going to be eventually acquitted. So I demand that [the court] put an end to this unlawfulness today, and I request to be released pending trial.”

After the court heard all defense statements and secret witness testimonies, the prosecution requested the continuation of detention of all six jailed defendants.

Addressing the court once again in response to the prosecutor’s request, Temel said: “I am a journalist. I stand by my journalistic work. I just want this unlawfulness that has been lasting for the past 13 months and 10 days to be brought to an end.”

After a brief recess, the court issued an interim ruling, ordering the continuation of detention for three of the six jailed defendants, including Temel. The court ruled to release Hünkar Hüdavi Yurtsever, İlhan Arslan and Mazlum Demirtaş from pretrial detention.

The court also ruled to lift the judicial control measure in the form of reporting to the nearest police station on regular intervals, which had been imposed on all unjailed defendants in the case, including ETHA reporter Havva Cuştan, who was released pending trial at the end of the previous hearing.

Lawyers Sezin Uçar, Özlem Gümüştaş and Gülhan Kaya are also among the defendants in the case.

Currently only three of the 23 defendants in the case are jailed, the next hearing of which is scheduled for 14 February 2019.