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 Sonya Bayık’s trial adjourned until 21 March

Journalist Sonya Bayık’s trial adjourned until 21 March


Bayık and co-defendants are charged with violating the law on demonstrations in connection with a 2019 protest in Batman





The sixth hearing in the trial of journalist Sonya Bayık on the charge of “violating the Law no. 2911 on Meetings and Demonstrations” was held on 27 December 2022 at the Batman 1st Criminal Court of First Instance.


Bayık and 30 other co-defendants are on trial in connection with a demonstration held in June 2019 against plans to submerge the ancient town of Hasankeyf in Batman as part of a dam project. She, along with some of the demonstrators, were detained when police broke up the protest and were later charged with violating the Law no. 2911.


Bayık and her lawyer İlyas Tarım did not attend the hearing, which was monitored by P24. During the hearing, the court tried but failed to make a video call through the judicial videoconferencing system SEGBİS with defendant Nurullah Özgün, who is in pre-trial detention in a prison in the southern province of Antalya.


Defense lawyers present in the courtroom requested the court for additional time to wait for the arrival of missing submissions in the case file. The court then ruled to wait for the execution of arrest warrants issued against two of the defendants and adjourned the trial until 21 March 2023.  


In her defense statement previously submitted to the court, Bayık said that she was a journalist and was at the protest to cover it. She said the demonstration was broken up by the police who used plastic bullets, tear gas and excessive force as she was filming participants read out a press statement and that she was detained along with the demonstrators even though she said she showed the police her press credentials. She dismissed the charges and asked the court to acquit her.


The indictment against Bayık and her co-defendants cite a decision dated 12 June 2019 by the District Governor’s Office of Hasankeyf to ban all sorts of public gatherings and demonstrations in Hasankeyf.


Bayık’s lawyer Tarım asked the court at the previous hearing to order an expert report to ascertain whether the police forces had made the call for dispersal of the gathering as per the Law no. 2911 and identify the measures that were used to disperse the crowd.