Trial court rules to release Ahmet Memiş, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Gökçe Fırat, Ünal Tanık, Yakup Çetin and Yetkin Yıldız; sets 4 November 2020 as the date for their retrial
The 25th High Criminal Court of Istanbul on 15 June 2020 released six journalists who were among eight defendants in the case publicly known as the “FETÖ media trial” whose convictions were recently overturned by the Supreme Court of Appeals.
The trial court ruled to release Ahmet Memiş, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Gökçe Fırat, Yakup Çetin and Yetkin Yıldız, who were in detention on remand since 2016, and Ünal Tanık, who was jailed since January 2017. Accordingly, all six were released from the Silivri Prison in Istanbul late on 15 June.
In its 15 June ruling, the court also set 4 November 2020 as the date for the retrial of eight defendants whose convictions were overturned. Journalists Ali Akkuş, who was released in March, and Atilla Taş, who returned to prison in November 2018 after a regional court of appeals upheld his conviction and was freed under probation in February 2019, are also among the eight defendants set to appear before the trial court in November for retrial.
At the final hearing of the case on 8 March 2018, the 25th High Criminal Court of Istanbul had convicted 23 of the 26 defendants in the case of “membership of a terrorist organization,” two others of “aiding a terrorist organization without being its member,” and acquitted one defendant. The court had ruled that 19 of the journalists remain in detention on remand pending appeal.
In their review of the case file, the 16th Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals upheld the convictions of 17 journalists in the case (Abdullah Kılıç, Bayram Kaya, Bünyamin Köseli, Cihan Acar, Cuma Ulus, Davut Aydın, Habip Güler, İbrahim Balta, Büşra Erdal, Hüseyin Aydın, Muhammed Sait Kuloğlu, Murat Aksoy, Erkan Acar, Mutlu Çölgeçen, Oğuz Usluer, Seyid Kılıç and Ufuk Şanlı). The judgment, which was rendered on 16 March 2020, only became official last week, on 8 June 2020, when it was finally uploaded on the National Judiciary Informatics System (UYAP).