Hicran Urun, an editor with the Özgürlükçü Demokrasi newspaper, was arrested in a raid on her home in Istanbul on 4 April 2018 as part of an investigation into the newspaper and the printing company that printed the newspaper.
The newspaper's editors Mehmet Ali Çelebi and Reyhan Hacıoğlu and three other employees of the newspaper were also detained in raids on their homes. The prosecution imposed a gag order on the investigation.
Earlier, on 28 March 2018, police raided the newspaper's headquarters in Beyoğlu and detained 25 people. Police teams notified the newspaper that a trustee had been appointed by the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF).
Urun, Çelebi and Hacıoğlu were brought to the courthouse on 10 April 2018. Without taking their statements, the prosecutor referred the journalists to a criminal judgeship of peace for imprisonment. The court jailed all three journalists pending trial on the charge of "membership of a terrorist organization." Urun and Hacıoğlu were sent to the Bakırköy Women's Closed Prison.
The indictment against 14 employees of the newspaper, including Urun, was issued on 22 May 2018.
The 67-page indictment, issued by the Terrorism and Organized Crime Investigation Bureau under the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office, accused 14 journalists, including the newspaper's publisher İhsan Yaşar and Responsible Editor İshak Yasul, of "membership of a terrorist organization," "terrorism propaganda" and "printing or publishing statements by terrorist organizations." The indictment said the newspaper "routinely and systematically made terrorist propaganda in order to create a negative perception of Turkey's operation on Afrin with false reports against the state."
The Istanbul 23rd High Criminal Court held the first hearing of the trial on 12 September 2018.
In her defense statement, Urun told the court that she was a journalist with an international press card. Explaining that she holds a master's degree in women's studies, Urun said she usually covers stories about women and children, but that she was being held responsible for other reports in the newspaper. Urun also stated that Kurdish songs on her music player were held as evidence against her. Asserting that the allegations against her are unlawful, the journalist demanded her acquittal.
The prosecution submitted their final opinion to the court at the hearing on 10 April 2019. The prosecutor asked the court to convict six newspaper employees, including Urun, as charged. In its interim ruling, the court ruled for Urun and Yasul’s release under a ban on traveling abroad.
The final hearing of the trial was held on 28 June 2019. The court sentenced journalists Hicran Urun, Reyhan Hacıoğlu and İshak Yasul to 3 years, 1 month and 15 days in prison each for "aiding a terrorist organization without being a member."