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.

Journalist Cihan Acar sent back to prison

Journalist Cihan Acar sent back to prison

Acar surrendered to Edirne Prison on 23 June 2020 to serve the remainder of the 6-year sentence he was given in 2018 

CANSU PİŞKİN 

Journalist Cihan Acar, who was sentenced in 2018 to 6 years and 3 months in prison on the charge of “membership of a terrorist organization” as part of the case publicly known as the “FETÖ media trial,” returned to prison after the Supreme Court of Appeals upheld his sentence earlier this month.

According to information provided by his lawyer, Acar surrendered to the Edirne Prison on 23 June 2020 to serve the remainder of his sentence.

In their judgment that became official on 8 June 2020, the 16th Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals unanimously upheld the convictions of Acar and 16 other journalists in the trial.

Acar, a former reporter for the shuttered Bugün daily, was arrested on the allegation of “membership of a terrorist organization” in July 2016. At the end of the first hearing of the “FETÖ media trial” on 31 March 2017, he was released pending trial by the 25th High Criminal Court of Istanbul. However, Acar was re-arrested on his way out of prison on the charges of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order” and “attempting to overthrow the government of the Republic of Turkey” as part of a new investigation. At the first hearing of the “coup” trial, also overseen by the 25th High Criminal Court, the panel ruled to merge the case file with the ongoing “media trial” and ordered Acar’s release pending trial under an international travel ban. The “coup” charges were later dropped and Acar and 24 of his co-defendants in the “FETÖ media trial” were handed down prison sentences on terrorism-related charges on 8 March 2018.

In May 2017, Acar’s lawyers Mustafa Söğütlü and Gülşah Kaya filed an application with the Constitutional Court, claiming that their client’s unlawful arrest and pre-trial detention and the restriction imposed on his investigation file violated his right to liberty and security and that Acar’s right to a fair trial was violated due to the restriction on access to a lawyer. The application also claimed that Acar’s journalistic acts to be cited as the grounds for detention violated freedom of the press and the unlawful search warrant against him violated his right to respect for private life. Reviewing Acar’s individual application in February 2020, the Constitutional Court’s First Section ruled that Acar’s re-arrest on “coup” charges violated his right to liberty and security and ordered that Acar be paid TL 30,000 in compensation.

 

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