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.
Regional court overturns acquittals in Gezi Park trial
Case remanded to Istanbul 30th High Criminal Court for the panel to reconsider their judgment by taking into account excluded evidence
The 3rd Criminal Chamber of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice on 22 January 2021 overturned the acquittals of nine defendants in last year’s Gezi Park trial, including imprisoned businessman Osman Kavala. The trial court’s judgment was appealed by the prosecution.
The Chamber held that the trial court did not take into account all the evidence in the indictment in the reasoning of its judgment of February 2020, in which it acquitted Osman Kavala, Yiğit Aksakoğlu, Mücella Yapıcı, Can Atalay, Mine Özerden, Çiğdem Mater, Tayfun Kahraman, Hakan Altınay and Yiğit Ali Ekmekçi.
Ruling that the trial court should reconsider their judgment in light of excluded evidence, the Chamber remanded the case to Istanbul 30th High Criminal Court.
The regional court held that a copy of the case file against Osman Kavala and US academic and former State Department official Henri Barkey, in which they are charged with "attempting to overthrow the government" and “political or military espionage” over their alleged involvement in the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016, should be included in the Gezi Park file and that the trial court should render its judgment after considering merging the two files. The trial against Kavala and Barkey, which got underway in December, is overseen by the Istanbul 36th High Criminal Court.
Additionally, the Chamber held that the acts for which the defendants stood trial were “related with” the case against the Beşiktaş football fan group Çarşı, where 35 members of the group faced criminal charges for allegedly “organizing a plot against the government during the 2013 Gezi Park protests.” The Chamber held that the trial court should also consider merging the two cases in accordance with the outcome of the Supreme Court of Appeals’ review of the case, especially if the Supreme Court reverses the judgment in the “Çarşı trial.”