4 contributors of the Zaman newspaper given prison term; Zübeyde Sarı acquitted; Nedim Türfent released; Engin Eren given prison term; hearing date set for Korur Fincancı
Four contributors of the shuttered Zaman newspaper given prison term
The ninth hearing in the retrial of Mümtazer Türköne, Şahin Alpay, Ali Bulaç, Ahmet Turan Alkan and Mehmet Özdemir, whose sentencing in the Zaman trial was overturned by the Supreme Court of Appeals on charges of “aiding a terrorist organization without being its member” was held at the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court on 28 November 2022.
Türköne, Alpay, Bulaç, Alkan and their lawyers were present at the hearing, which P24 monitored.
The prosecutor, who repeated their final opinion on the case presented at the hearing on 7 April 2022, requested conviction for Bulaç, Alpay, Türköne and Alkan of “knowingly and willingly aiding the FETÖ/PDY armed terrorist organization despite not being a part of its hierarchical structure.”
The court sentenced Mümtazer Türköne to 3 years and 9 months of imprisonment and Şahin Alpay, Ali Bulaç and Ahmet Turan Alkan to 2 years and 6 months of imprisonment each for “aiding a terrorist organization without being its member.” The court also decided to separate the file of Mehmet Özdemir, who has not been detained despite an arrest warrant and to open a new case at the same court.
You can access the full report here
Journalist Engin Eren given prison term on “terrorism” charge
The 34th hearing in the trial of journalist Engin Eren, reporter of now-defunct Dicle News Agency (DİHA) on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization,” “violation of Law 2565 on Military Forbidden Zones” and “violation of Law 2911 on Meetings and Demonstrations” was held at the Batman 2nd High Criminal Court on 30 November 2022.
While Engin Eren did not attend the hearing, his lawyer Resul Temur was present. P24 monitored the hearing.
The prosecutor repeated their final opinion on the case presented on 3 June 2022 and requested conviction for Eren of the impugned crime.
Defending against the opinion, Eren’s lawyer Resul Temur said “My client was at the demonstration to report. In the police report for the incident, my client is described as a journalist. Furthermore, evidence in the file show that he was outside the military forbidden zone. Also, the police not issuing a warning to disperse shows that the material and moral elements of the crime did not exist.”
The court sentenced journalist Eren to 3 year 1 months and 15 days of imprisonment for “aiding a terrorist organization without being its member.” Eren was acquitted of “membership in a terrorist organization,” “violation of Law 2565 on Military Forbidden Zones and Secure Zones” and “violation of Law 2911 on Meetings and Demonstrations.”
Journalist Zübeyde Sarı acquitted of “inciting the people to hatred and enmity”
The fourth hearing in the trial of journalist Zübeyde Sarı on charges of “inciting the people to hatred and enmity” over her social media posts was held at the Bakırköy 24th Criminal Court of First Instance on 1 December 2022.
Sarı did not attend the hearing, while her lawyer Erselan Aktan was present.
In their final opinion on the case, the prosecutor requested Sarı’s acquittal on grounds that legal elements of the crime did not exist. Asked whether they agreed with the prosecution’s opinion, lawyer Erselan Aktan said “No statements or actions that are not true and of a nature to incite the people are the case. All the statements fall within the freedom of expression” and requested his client’s acquittal.
The court acquitted Sarı as “elements of the crime did not exist.”
Actor İlyas Salman acquitted of “denigrating the Turkish nation”
The third hearing in the trial of actor İlyas Salman on charges of “denigrating the Turkish nation” over his social media posts was held at the Anadolu 54th Criminal Court of First Instance on 1 December 2022.
The prosecutor repeated their final opinion on the case presented at the previous hearing and requested sentencing for Salman.
The court stated that Salman’s actions were not defined as crimes in the law and ruled to acquit.
Salman’s televised statements subject to the trial were made on 23 January 2021 on Yol TV, in which Salman appeared as a guest. On the show, Salman said “If Recep Tayyip Erdoğan were to give me an award, if he were to give me the world’s biggest award and added a pile of money to it, I would not go to receive it. He has already gotten his reward in votes cast by this unwise people. But he made bad use of his reward.” Salman had later shared a video of this statement on his social media account.
Journalist Nedim Türfent released from Karakoçan Prison
Journalist Nedim Türfent was released from the Karakoçan Type K-1 Closed Prison in Elâzığ on 30 November 2022, after spending six years and six months in prison.
Former reporter for the now-defunct DİHA, Nedim Türfent had received death threats and been targeted on social media for reporting on the rights violations during the curfew in Yüksekova, Hakkari.
Türfent was arrested in Van on 13 May 2016 and charged with “membership in a terrorist organization” and “terrorism propaganda.” At the first hearing, 13 of the 24 defendants had stated they were tortured and gave depositions under duress. Of the 11 witnesses, 10 identified and one secret, four had stated being forced to sign documents under torture. Despite these allegations, the Hakkâri High Criminal Court had sentenced Türfent to 8 years and 9 months in prison.
Fines issued to police officers who violently detained journalist Beyza Kural
The seventh hearing in the trial of three police officers on charges of “violation of the freedom to work and employment” that was filed following the Constitutional Court ruling for a violation of rights in the case of police violence against bianet former reporter Beyza Kural was held at the İstanbul 35th Criminal Court of First Instance on 1 December 2022.
Plaintiff Beyza Kural, her lawyer Meriç Eyüboğlu and defendants’ lawyers attended the hearing, which P24 monitored. The defendant police officers were not present at the hearing.
The court sentenced the defendant police officers to a judicial fine of TL 6,000 for “violation of the freedom to work and employment" and divided the payment into 10 installments.
For defendant N.D., the court deferred the announcement of the sentence whereas the court did not defer the sentence for defendants K.A. and Y.Ş. due to a previous deferral of sentence concerning them.
You can access the full report here.
Şebnem Korur Fincancı’s first hearing for “terrorism propaganda” to be held on 23 December
The first hearing in the trial of Prof. Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı, President of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) on charges of “terrorism propaganda” over her statement “claims that the Turkish Armed Forces have used chemical weapons should be investigated” is to be held at the İstanbul 24th High Criminal Court on 23 December 2022.
In the indictment prepared by the Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office, which claims that the Medya Haber TV, to which Korur Fincancı gave an interview regarding allegations of the use of chemical weapons, has ties with the PKK; it is argued that the images used during Fincancı’s speech, the manner in which the news was reported and the use of the expression “katledildi” (“massacred”) on a live broadcast constitute “strong elements of terrorist organization propaganda.”
The prosecutor’s office had launched an investigation into Korur Fincancı’s remarks on 20 October 2022 on charges of “terrorisn propaganda” and “denigrating the state of the Republic of Turkey, the institutions and organs of state.” Korur Fincancı was arrested by the Ankara 3rd Criminal Court of Peace on charges of “terrorism propaganda” on 27 October 2022 and sent to the Sincan Closed Women’s Prison.
Court refuses to implement Constitutional Court ruling; declines application by journalist Hacı Boğatekin
The Anadolu 9th Civil Court of First Instance has refused an application for retrial by journalist, who was sentenced to pay compensation to then AKP MP Mehmet Metiner after the publication of a piece in the Gerger Fırat newspaper in 2011, in a ruling which the Constitutional Court found to have contained rights violations. In a Twitter post lawyer Hüseyin Boğatekin said “The Court refuses to recognize Constitutional Court ruling! The compensation order for journalist Boğatekin over insulting AKP member Metiner in his column had been overturned by the Constitutional Court for containing violations. Our request for a re-trial was denied. We are taking the decision that refuses to recognize the Constitutional Court to the Constitutional Court with lawyer Merve Kurhan.
Investigation launched into Etkin News Agency
The İstanbul Anadolu Chief Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation into Etkin News Agency, following reports by financial investigators auditing the agency of “terrorism propaganda,” “insulting the president” and “denigrating the government.”
Claiming that the news items published contained “terrorism propaganda,” the prosecutor’s office based its accusations on the denial of access decisions on the agency’s websites.
Investigation into journalist Pınar Gayıp results in decision not to prosecute
An investigation that began on 18 October 2022 into Etkin News Agency (ETHA) reporter Pınar Gayıp on charges of “inciting the people to hatred and enmity” due to her Twitter posts regarding the mine collapse in Bartın has resulted in a decision not to prosecute.
Gayıp had shared a video from the evening of the disaster and written “Many miners are trapped. This is why they brought in the censorship law; to solidify their government over the graves of miners. No one should know so that no one can demand an explanation.”
Request to re-open Free Journalists Association turned down
The request to re-open the Free Journalists Association and Kurdish Writers Association, which were shut down on 22 November 2020 by statutory decree (KHK) powers granted by the state of emergency declared after the coup attempt of 15 July 2016 was turned down unanimously.
According to the decision, National Judiciary Informatics System (UYAP) searches had shown connections with the PKK in case files related to the Kurdish Writers Association and the Free Journalists Association. The decision argued that some members of the Kurdish Writers Association and the Free Journalists Association were facing investigation or trial on suspicion and charges of “terrorism propaganda,” “membership in a terrorist organization” and “violation of Law 2911 on Meetings and Demonstrations” and that this indicated connection and contact with the organization.
Letter rogatory for reporter, cameraman of Vice News obtained after six years, trial adjourned until March
The 15th hearing in the trial of Vice News reporter Jake Hanrahan on charges of “funding a terrorist organization,” “membership in a terrorist organization” and “terrorism propaganda” and camera operator Philip Pendlebury on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization” was held at the Diyarbakır 8th High Criminal Court on 29 November 2022.
While the journalists Pendlebury and Hanrahan did not attend the hearing, their lawyers were present.
At the hearing, a response was obtained to the letter rogatory prepared six years ago and the journalists’ defense statements were taken. The court ruled to convey the letter rogatory documents to the Ministry of Justice, for defendants’ depositions in English to be translated to Turkish and adjourned the trial until 28 March 2023.
Jacob Philip John Gingell (Jake) Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury were arrested in Diyarbakır in 2015, where they were aiming to shoot a documentary on events in the districts of Cizre, Silopi, Nusaybin and Sur during the curfews and then extradited. Their interpreter Mohammed Ismael Rasool, an Iraqi citizen, was released after the hearing on 4 January 2016.
Journalist Şerife Oruç’s trial adjourned until March
The 22nd hearing in the trial of Şerife Oruç, former reporter for the shuttered Dicle News Agency, on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization” was held at the Batman 2nd High Criminal Court on 29 November 2022.
The court decided to await the execution of the order Oruç’s arrest and adjourned the trial until 9 March 2023.
Charlie Hebdo trial adjourned until June
The third hearing in the trial of the Charlie Hebdo magazine General Director Julien Serignac, Managing Editor Gerard Biard, Editor-in-Chief Laurent Sorurisseau and cartoonist Alice on charges of “insulting the president” was held at the Ankara 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance on 1 December 2022.
At the hearing, which none of the defendants or counsel attended, the court ruled to inquire into the outcome of the letter rogatory prepared by the Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office and is currently with the Ministry of Justice.
The court adjourned the trial until 13 June 2023.
Rozerin Gültekin’s trial adjourned until January 2023
The first hearing in the trial of journalist Rozerin Gültekin on charges of “violation of the Law 2911 on Meetings and Demonstrations” was held on 1 December 2022.
Although the case was filed with the Bursa 18th Criminal Court of First Instance, the hearing was held at the İstanbul 58thCriminal Court of First Instance to obtain the deposition of Gültekin, who resides in İstanbul, by court order.
As Gültekin had a broken arm, her lawyer Özcan Kılıç presented an excuse accompanied by a doctor’s report to the court. Despite this, the court ruled to issue an order for Gültekin to be brought in by force.
The hearing was held summarily, and the trial was adjourned until 31 January 2023.
The “FETÖ media structure” retrial adjourned until February 2023
The planned sixth hearing on 29 November 2022 in the retrial of journalists Ahmet Memiş, Ali Akkuş, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, Ünal Tanık, Yakup Çetin and Yetkin Yıldız, whose sentencing in the case publicly known as the “FETÖ media structure case” was overturned by the Supreme Court of Appeals was held summarily due to the heavy workload of the court and the trial was adjourned until 7 February 2023.
Holding a summary hearing on 11 October 2022, the court justified the adjournment as follows: “As comprehensive coup case hearings are planned for the three weeks including the week of 14 November 2022 and thereby the panel of judges will be in court at the Silivri Open Prison Campus Court Room, it has become necessary to adjourn the trial until 7 February 2023.”
Journalist Sezgin Kartal’s trial adjourned
The second hearing in the trial of journalist Sezgin Kartal on charges of “insult through an audio, written or visual message” was held at the İstanbul 24th Criminal Court of First Instance on 29 November 2022.
Sezgin Kartal and his lawyer Merve Kurhan attended the hearing, which P24 monitored.
Repeating their opinion presented at the previous hearing, the prosecutor requested conviction for Kartal of the impugned crime.
Kartal’s lawyer Merve Kurhan requested additional time to prepare a detailed defense, stating she had recently been assigned to the case.
Accepting her request, the court adjourned the trial until 20 December 2022.
Following the attack on the HDP’s İzmir office and the killing of Deniz Poyraz, Türkiye newspaper contributor Fuat Uğur had stated “This attack was carried out by FETÖ and the HDP, which are the apparatus of the global Gladio” in an article published on 19 June 2021. Kartal had criticized Uğur’s statement in social media posts. Uğur had filed an official complaint against Kartal following the posts.
At least 75 journalists and media workers in prison
Following the release of journalist Nedim Türfent from Karakoçan Prison, where he served for six years and six months, on 30 November, there are at least 75 journalists and media workers who are in prison either pending trial or serving sentence in Turkey as of 2 December 2022.
The full list can be accessed here.