Once more, there has been no ruling in trial of 32 people, including former reporter Engin Eren of shuttered DİHA. The trial was adjourned until 30 November 2022
ÖZKAN KÜÇÜK, BATMAN
The 33rd hearing in the trial of former reporter Engin Eren of shuttered Dicle News Agency (DİHA) on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization,” “violating the Law 2565 on Military Forbidden Zones and Secure Zones” and “violating the Law 2911 on Meetings and Demonstrations” was held at the Batman 2nd High Criminal Court on 16 November 2022.
Some of the defendants and their lawyers attended the hearing, which P24 monitored. Eren and his lawyer did not attend the hearing.
Defendant Şükrü Demirtaş’s lawyer Eyüp Şahin stated that he had been newly assigned to the case and requested additional time to prepare a defense against the accusations. Lawyer Mesut Aydın pointed out that the indictment did not state which crime was allegedly committed by which defendant. Aydın furthermore requested an investigation by a court expert to identify whether his clients had violated the boundaries of the military forbidden zone.
The prosecutor repeated their final opinion on the case presented at the hearing on 3 June 2022 and requested sentencing for Eren and the other 31 defendants for the impugned crime.
Accepting the request for additional time and the excuses presented by some defendants’ lawyers, the court decided to separate the case file for Ahmet Tekin, who has not been located despite the order for his arrest. 31 people, including journalist Engin Eren, now remain as defendants in the case file. The trial was adjourned until 30 November 2022.
Eren was detained while reporting on a sit-in demonstration to prevent the clashes in the rural areas of the Sason district of Batman in 2015 and his equipment was confiscated.
Background of the case
On 18 September 2015, 83 people, including pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP Ayşe Acar Başaran, then co-mayors of Batman and representatives of various civil society organizations had put up a tent and started a sit-in demonstration to prevent the clashes between the Turkish Armed Forces and the PKK in the rural Kelhasan area of the Sason district in Batman.
82 people and DİHA Batman reporter Engin Eren, who was reporting on the protest, were detained on grounds of acting as “human shields” and were released two days later.
During the detention process, Eren’s camera, video recorder and memory disks were confiscated. The Batman Chief Prosecutor’s Office prepared an indictment against 76 people, including Eren.
The prosecution had presented the indictment awaited since 2018 to the court on 3 June 2022, at the 30th hearing of the trial, which had begun at the Batman 2nd High Criminal Court in 2015 and which has been ongoing for approximately seven years. The prosecution had requested sentencing for 32 defendants, including Engin Eren, on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization by way of committing crimes on behalf of an armed organization,” “preventing officials from fulfilling their duties,” “opposition to Law 2911 on Meetings and Demonstrations” and “opposition to Law 2565 on Military Forbidden Zones and Secure Zones.”
The case files for 44 defendants, including HDP MP Ayşe Acar Başaran’s, had been separated during previous hearings.