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 Hayri Demir’s trial adjourned for 5 days after 4-minute hearing

Journalist Hayri Demir’s trial adjourned for 5 days after 4-minute hearing


An expert report on digital materials seized from Demir, which was submitted to the court, shows the examined materials contain no elements of crime 



The 13th hearing in the trial of journalist Hayri Demir on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization” and “terrorism propaganda” over his journalistic activities in northern Syria was held at the Ankara 15th High Criminal Court on 28 September 2022.


Demir and his lawyer Nuray Özdoğan were present at the hearing, which was monitored by P24. The court panel announced at the beginning of the court session that an expert’s report on the examination of Demir’s digital materials, which were seized from him as part of the criminal investigation, had been added to the case file. The report states that the examined digital materials contain no elements of crime.


Addressing the court, lawyer Özdoğan said that it was unlawful to regard the news items produced by Demir as a journalist or his contacts with news sources as elements of crime. “It is a direct violation of the freedom of the press to use his coverage of an illegal organization as a basis to charge him with membership of that organization,” said Özdoğan.


Recalling the fact that Demir’s house had been broken in to and that his digital materials were stolen prior to the criminal investigation that culminated in the trial, Özdoğan said that the investigation was built upon materials that were no longer in possession or control of the defendant. “Besides, the most recent digital examination conducted on these materials did not detect any elements of crime either,” she said.


At the end of the hearing, which lasted a total of four minutes, the court ruled that the file be sent to the prosecutor’s office for the final opinion as to the charges to be prepared. The trial was adjourned until 4 October 2022.


About the trial


Demir was arrested on 16 March 2017 as part of a criminal investigation that later culminated into the trial and was released after eight days. The indictment was completed in May 2019. The charges against Demir are based on images and photographs in memory cards, which were stolen from his house in February 2016 and later showed up in possession of the police forces, and social media posts consisting mostly of news articles and photographs.


Among the news items and photographs included in the indictment, which formed the basis of the accusations, there is a photograph of a live broadcast Demir recorded at Şanlıurfa’s Akçakale district, images from Kobani, Syria, photographs Demir took during Newroz celebrations in Diyarbakır in 2015 and photographs taken at the meeting of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) on 7 September 2014.