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 İdris Sayılğan released one day after being jailed in Edirne

Journalist İdris Sayılğan released one day after being jailed in Edirne

Mezopotamya news agency reporter Sayılğan was sent to prison on 2 March on grounds that he “violated judicial control measures”

Mezopotamya news agency (MA) reporter İdris Sayılğan, who was jailed on 2 March 2020 in Edirne on the grounds that he “violated judicial control measures,” has been released by a court order after his lawyers objected to his imprisonment.

The 2nd Criminal Chamber of the Erzurum Regional Court of Justice ruled on 3 March that Sayılğan “did not intend to violate the judicial control measure imposed on him.”

MA reporters İdris Sayılğan and Naci Kaya were taken into custody on 29 February 2020 in Edirne while reporting on refugees trying to cross the Turkish-Greek border. The refugee crisis began after Turkey declared late last week, in the wake of the attack on Turkish soldiers in Syria’s Idlib, that it would no longer stop refugees who want to go to Europe.

Following their arrest, the Edirne Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office claimed that both journalists, currently subject to international travel bans imposed by the courts overseeing their respective trials, had “knowingly violated the judicial control measures” imposed on them by “attempting to illegally cross the border” towards Greece. The Public Prosecutor asked both courts to imprison Sayılğan and Kaya.

Both journalists were brought to the Edirne Courthouse on 2 March. There, they addressed the respective courts overseeing their cases via the judicial video-conferencing system SEGBİS. Sayılğan made his statement to the 2nd Criminal Chamber of the Erzurum Regional Court of Justice, which had ruled in November 2019 for his release from detention on remand and sent his case file to the Supreme Court of Appeals. After hearing Sayılğan’s statement, the court ruled to jail the journalist on the grounds that he “intentionally violated judicial control measures.” Sayılğan was sent to the Edirne F Type Closed Prison.

Detention period for Kaya extended

Kaya, on the other hand, addressed the 3rd High Criminal Court of Aydın, which previously sentenced him to 6 years and 8 months in prison on the charge of “membership of a terrorist group.” Kaya told the court that he was in Edirne to cover the refugee situation as a journalist. Adding that he had no intention of fleeing the country, Kaya asked to be released. The court initially ruled that Kaya’s press card and his digital equipment were in support of his statement and ruled for his release on the grounds that there was no concrete evidence that he violated the judicial control measure imposed on him. However, Kaya was not released immediately. It was later revealed that Kaya’s detention period was extended until 4 March by an order of the Edirne Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Rudaw TV reporter Ravin Sterk Yıldız and cameraman Mehmet Şirin Akgün, who were taken into custody along with MA journalists, were expected to be brought to the courthouse on Tuesday.

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