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.

Trial against Meşale Tolu adjourned once again

Trial against Meşale Tolu adjourned once again

The court did not render a judgment due to a change of the judges on the panel. Case adjourned until 17 January

CANSU PİŞKİN, ISTANBUL

The 16th hearing of the trial against journalist Meşale Tolu and 22 other defendants on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization” under Article 314/2 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) and “terrorism propaganda” under Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK) was held at the Istanbul 29th High Criminal Court on 24 December 2021.

P24 monitored the hearing. Tolu, who lives in Germany, did not attend. Her lawyer Keleş Öztürk and lawyers representing the other defendants were in the courtroom.

The presiding judge told those in attendance that although the prosecutor’s final opinion has been submitted to the court, the court would not render a judgment at this hearing due to a change of the judges on the panel.

Tolu’s lawyer Keleş Öztürk told the court that they agreed with the final opinion of the prosecutor, who demanded Tolu’s acquittal of both charges due to lack of evidence. Öztürk said they would present a detailed statement to the court at the next hearing. Other defense lawyers requested additional time to present their statements in response to the prosecutor's final opinion. The court adjourned the case until 17 January 2022.

The prosecutor, who submitted their final opinion on the case on 15 September 2021, one day ahead of the previous hearing, demanded Tolu’s acquittal of all charges due to lack of concrete and conclusive evidence.

Also requesting acquittal for 10 other defendants of all charges, the prosecutor sought conviction for 10 defendants on the charge of “terrorism propaganda” while seeking their acquittal of the “membership in a terrorist organization” charge. Tolu’s husband, Suat Çorlu, who is a member of the central executive board of the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP), is among the latter 10 defendants. The prosecutor demanded that the court convict the remaining two defendants of “terrorism propaganda” and “committing a crime on behalf of a terrorist organization without being its member” (TCK 220/6).

Tolu, who is a German citizen, was a translator and reporter for Etkin News Agency (ETHA) when she was arrested during a police raid on her home in Istanbul on 30 April 2017. She remained in pre-trial detention in Bakırköy Women's Closed Prison with her toddler son for over seven months in 2017 as part of the case. Tolu was released pending trial by the court on 18 December 2017.

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