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 Hakan Aygün’s trial adjourned until January

Journalist Hakan Aygün’s trial adjourned until January

Aygün remained behind bars for a month as part of the trial, where he is charged with “insulting religious values” over a Twitter post

 

NALİN ÖZTEKİN, BODRUM 

 

The third hearing in journalist Hakan Aygün’s trial on the charge of “insulting religious values” was held on 27 October 2020 at the Bodrum 3rd Criminal Court of First Instance. Ruling to wait for the completion of the examination of digital equipment confiscated from Aygün, the court adjourned the trial until January. 

 

Aygün is on trial over a Twitter post concerning a donation campaign inaugurated by President Erdoğan on 30 March to help citizens in need during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Directorate of Religious Affairs and the pro-government educators’ trade union Eğitim-Bir-Sen are among the complainants in the case.

 

The hearing began 35 minutes later than scheduled. The court did not allow spectators inside the courtroom due to Covid-19. Aygün’s lawyers, who submitted letters of excuse to the court, were not in attendance. Aygün delivered his defense statement without his lawyers.

 

Addressing the court in response to the accusation in a second indictment merged with the ongoing case during the previous hearing, Aygün said he did not make the social media post for which he is accused in the second indictment. Aygün asked the court to order the return of his digital equipment and requested to be acquitted.

 

In its interim ruling, the court ruled to wait for the completion of the expert report on the digital equipment confiscated from Aygün and adjourned the trial until 19 January 2021.

 

Aygün was arrested in Bodrum on 2 April 2020 over his Twitter post that involved a wordplay concerning the Covid-19 donation campaign inaugurated on 30 March by President Erdoğan. He was jailed pending trial by a criminal judgeship of peace on 3 April on the charge of “incitement to hatred and enmity” under Turkish Penal Code (TCK) Article 216. Aygün was released by the trial court on 6 May, at the first hearing of his trial.

 

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