Rejecting other claims in Acar’s application, the Constitutional Court rules that the journalist be paid TL 30,000 in compensation for his re-arrest
The Constitutional Court ruled that journalist Cihan Acar’s arrest on a different charge following his release in 2017 in the case publicly known as the “FETÖ media trial” violated his right to liberty and security and ordered that the journalist be paid TL 30,000 in compensation.
At the first hearing of the trial in March 2017, the trial court ruled to release 21 journalists jailed as part of the case, however, 13 of the defendants, including Acar, were re-arrested the same day on “coup” charges as part of a separate investigation. The new accusation was combined with the “FETÖ media trial” through a joinder, only to be dropped later during the proceedings upon the request of the prosecution. The trial concluded in March 2018 and 25 of the 26 defendants, including Acar, were convicted of various terrorism-related charges. Acar was sentenced to 6 years and 3 months in prison on the charge of “membership of a terrorist organization.” The court ruled that Acar remain free pending appeal.
Filing an individual application with the Constitutional Court on 22 May 2017, Acar’s lawyers Mustafa Söğütlü and Gülşah Kaya claimed that their client’s unlawful arrest and pre-trial detention and the restriction imposed on the investigation file violated his right to liberty and security and that Acar’s right to a fair trial was violated due to the restriction on access to a lawyer. The application also claimed that Acar’s journalistic acts to be cited as the grounds for detention violated freedom of the press and the unlawful search warrant against him violated his right to respect for one's private and family life.
Ruling on Acar’s individual application on 27 February 2020, the Constitutional Court’s First Section ruled by a majority that Acar’s re-arrest on a different charge during the proceedings violated his right to liberty and security. Two judges on the panel wrote dissenting opinions, reasoning that “in respect of the applicant’s second arrest, rulings by first instance courts cannot be deemed baseless and arbitrary” and that the grounds cited for his re-arrest were “relevant and sufficient.” The top court unanimously rejected the rest of the claims in Acar’s application.