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 seeks sentence for four Cumhuriyet journalists

Prosecutor seeks sentence for four Cumhuriyet journalists

Ocak, Akça, Özbey and Arık are charged with “violating the secrecy of one's private life” and “marking officials involved in the fight against terrorism as targets” over an April 2020 report

 

CANSU PİŞKİN, ISTANBUL

 

Cumhuriyet reporter Hazal Ocak, Managing Editor İpek Özbey, Responsible Managing Editor Olcay Büyüktaş Akça and photojournalist Vedat Arık appeared before court on 24 June 2021 for the third hearing of their trial on charges of “violating the secrecy of one's private life” under Article 134 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) and “marking officials involved in the fight against terrorism as targets” under Article 6/1 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK).

 

The case, overseen by the Istanbul 26th High Criminal Court, was launched upon a complaint by Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun. The charges stem from an April 2020 report by Ocak about allegations of illegal construction work commissioned by Altun on a plot of land near his residence in Istanbul that he had rented from the General Directorate of Foundations.

 

P24 monitored the hearing, where Ocak, Akça, Özbey and Arık were in attendance, accompanied by their lawyer, Turan Karakaş. Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS) President Gökhan Durmuş and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Turkey representative Erol Önderoğlu were also among observers.

 

Submitting their final opinion, the prosecutor demanded that all four journalists be convicted as charged. The prosecutor argued that the “news article specified Fahrettin Altun’s permanent address with neighborhood and street [information] in a manner that would make it easier for terrorist organizations [to locate].”

 

Granting the journalists and their lawyers time to prepare their defense statements in response to the prosecutor's final opinion, the court adjourned the trial until 1 December 2021.

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