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.

Prosecutor demands acquittal for Meşale Tolu

Prosecutor demands acquittal for Meşale Tolu

Tolu, a German citizen, remained behind bars with her toddler son for over seven months in 2017 as part of this case. Court is expected to render its judgment in December

 

CANSU PİŞKİN, ISTANBUL

 

The 15th hearing of the trial against journalist Meşale Tolu and 22 other defendants on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization” under Article 314/2 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) and “terrorism propaganda” under Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK) was held on 16 September 2021 at the Istanbul 29th High Criminal Court.

 

P24 monitored the hearing. Tolu, who lives in Germany, did not attend. Her lawyer Keleş Öztürk and lawyers representing the other defendants were in the courtroom.

 

The prosecutor, who submitted their final opinion on the case on 15 September 2021, one day ahead of the hearing, demanded Tolu’s acquittal of all charges due to lack of concrete and conclusive evidence. The prosecutor said that Tolu’s participation in some events commemorating deceased members of an organization alone cannot prove that he is a part of the hierarchical structure of that organization.

 

Also asking the court to acquit 10 other defendants of all charges, the prosecutor sought conviction for 10 other defendants on the charge of “terrorism propaganda” while seeking their acquittal of the “membership in a terrorist organization” charge. Tolu’s husband, Suat Çorlu, who is a member of the central executive board of the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP), is among the latter 10 defendants. The prosecutor demanded that the court convict the remaining two defendants of “terrorism propaganda” and “committing a crime on behalf of a terrorist organization without being its member” (TCK 220/6).

 

Tolu’s lawyer Öztürk told the court that he agreed with the prosecutor’s final opinion regarding the acquittal request and said he will make a detailed statement later. Granting lawyers representing the other defendants in the case additional time to prepare their statements in response to the final opinion, the court adjourned the trial until 24 December 2021.

 

Tolu, who is a German citizen, was a translator and reporter for Etkin News Agency (ETHA) when she was arrested during a police raid on her home in Istanbul on 30 April 2017. She remained in pre-trial detention in Bakırköy Women's Closed Prison with her toddler son for over seven months in 2017 as part of the case. Tolu was released pending trial by the court on 18 December 2017.

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