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.

Four sentenced in Özgür Gündem main trial

Four sentenced in Özgür Gündem main trial

Eren Keskin, İnan Kızılkaya and Kemal Sancılı handed down 6 years and 3 months each for "being a member of a terrorist organization"; Zana Kaya given 2 years and 1 month for "propaganda"


The final hearing in the trial of Özgür Gündem newspaper’s former Co-Editor-in-Chief Zana Kaya, publisher Kemal Sancılı, responsible editor İnan Kızılkaya and lawyer Eren Keskin was held on 15 February at the Istanbul 23rd High Criminal Court.


All four were accused of "disrupting the integrity of the state and the unity of the nation," "membership of a terrorist group" and "terrorism propaganda." Keskin, a lawyer and rights defender, was on trial because she had her name included in the newspaper’s masthead to defend freedom of the press. 


Lawyer and human rights defender Eren Keskin, former responsible editor İnan Kızılkaya and their lawyers were present at Monday’s hearing, which marked the fourth since their files were separated last year from the main trial, which began in 2016. Sancılı and Kaya did not attend the hearing.


Issuing their verdict after hearing the last words of Keskin and Kızılkaya, the court sentenced Sancılı, Keskin and Kızılkaya to 6 years and 3 months in prison on the charge of "membership in a terrorist organization.” The court sentenced Kaya to 2 years and 1 month in prison on the charge of "terrorism propaganda for a terrorist organization.”


Keskin, Kaya, Sancılı and Kızılkaya's files were separated from the rest of the defendants last year at the final hearing of the Özgür Gündem main trial. The case has been going on since 2016, when the pro-Kurdish daily was closed down through a statutory decree.