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.

Retrial of Keskin and Çapan to continue in December

Retrial of Keskin and Çapan to continue in December

The now-defunct newspaper’s former co-editor-in-chief and responsible editor are on trial for reports on Berkin Elvan, who died after being hit on the head by a tear-gas canister fired by a police officer during 2013's Gezi protests


A trial in which Eren Keskin, the former co-editor-in-chief of Özgür Gündem newspaper, and Reyhan Çapan, the newspaper’s former responsible managing editor, are charged with “revealing the identity of the perpetrator or victim of a crime who is under the age of 18” (under Article 21/c of the Press Law) resumed at the Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance on 18 November 2021.

 

This was the second hearing of Keskin and Çapan’s retrial. The accusation stems from five articles Özgür Gündem published in 2013 and 2014 on Berkin Elvan, a teenage boy who died in 2014 after remaining in coma for months after being hit on the head by a gas canister fired by the police during 2013’s Gezi Park protests.

 

Inıtially five separate indictments were issued against Keskin and Çapan for five reports published in the newspaper. The indictments were later merged into a single case, overseen by the Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance. At the final hearing of their trial, held on 7 March 2019, Keskin and Çapan were separately sentenced to TL 10,416 TL judicial fine.


Keskin and Çapan’s lawyers Özcan Kılıç and Sercan Korkmaz appealed the sentences, stating in their petition that Elvan’s parents did not have any complaints about the reports and that the articles were in fact effective in identifying the culprits in the incident that led to Elvan’s death.


Supreme Court: Sentence insufficient

 

On 12 October 2020, the 19th Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals issued its judgment concerning the appeal, reversing Keskin and Çapan’s sentences on the grounds that the judicial fines given were too low and remanding the case to the trial court.


For the retrial, the Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance decided to apply the “simple trial procedure,” introduced on 1 January 2020 within the scope of the Judicial Reform Package. In its judgment dated 2 April 2021, the Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance sentenced Keskin and Çapan to TL 7,812 each. Keskin and Çapan's lawyers objected to the sentences, upon which the trial court switched to the regular trial procedure.

 

During this week’s hearing, which the lawyers did not attend, the court decided to wait for the submission of the requested documents and adjourned the trial until 23 December 2021.

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