Court rules to file new charges against Yücel for “insulting the president” and “insulting the Turkish Republic” over his articles and his defense statement to the court
The final hearing in the trial of journalist Deniz Yücel on the charges of “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization” and “inciting hatred and animosity” was held on 16 July 2020 at the 32nd High Criminal Court of Istanbul.
P24 monitored the hearing, which was the ninth courtroom hearing in Yücel’s trial in absentia. Announcing its verdict at the end of the hearing, the court sentenced the journalist to 2 years, 9 months and 22 days in prison for “terrorism propaganda.”
Yücel’s lawyer Veysel Ok was in attendance in the courtroom. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Turkey Representative Erol Önderoğlu and representatives from the German Consulate General in Istanbul also monitored the hearing.
The prosecutor reiterated their final opinion, requesting the court to convict Yücel of “disseminating propaganda for the PKK/KCK terrorist organization” and “inciting the public to hatred and animosity.”
Addressing the court, lawyer Ok requested Yücel’s acquittal on the basis of the Constitutional Court ruling concerning his client.
Announcing its verdict after a 15-minute recess, the court unanimously ruled to acquit Yücel of “disseminating propaganda for the FETÖ/PDY armed terrorist organization” and “incitement to hatred and animosity,” but convicted him of “disseminating propaganda for the PKK/KCK armed terrorist organization.” The panel initially sentenced Yücel to 1 year and 6 months in prison. The sentence was increased by half on the grounds that “the offense was committed via the press.” The sentence was increased by an additional ¼ on the grounds that Yücel “repeated the offense numerous times.”
The court also ordered that criminal complaints be filed against Yücel on the charges of “insulting the president” and “insulting the Turkish Republic and its institutions” over his articles published in October 2016 and November 2016, and his defense statement to the trial court.
Yücel, the former Turkey correspondent for the German daily Die Welt, was arrested in February 2017 in connection with a probe into the leaked emails of Minister Berat Albayrak, who is also President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son-in-law. After spending 13 days in custody, Yücel was jailed pending trial on 27 February 2017 on charges of “terrorism propaganda” and “incitement to hatred and animosity” over his newspaper articles. After spending one year behind bars without an indictment against him, Yücel was released pending trial on 16 February 2018 by the 32nd High Criminal Court of Istanbul. Following his release, Yücel left Turkey for Germany on a private plane. His trial got under way in his absence on 28 June 2018.