An investigation was launched against journalist Yasin Kobulan for his news report titled "The name of the siege is Bayrak 12, the name in charge is Musa Çitil” published by the Dicle News Agency (DİHA) in 2016. The Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor's Office launched an investigation upon a complaint by Musa Çitil, Diyarbakır Gendarmerie Regional Commander at the time.
The file of Kobulan, who gave his statement in Istanbul, where he lives, for the investigation opened in Diyarbakır, was combined with the investigation file initiated by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office regarding his social media posts in 2015.
The indictment of the investigation conducted by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office on Kobulan with the allegation of "making propaganda for a terrorist organization" was completed on 1 October 2018.
In the indictment, Kobulan's posts with news content on his Facebook account were cited as evidence for the accusation. The prosecutor demanded Kobulan’s conviction on "making propaganda for a terrorist organization.”
Following the Istanbul 30th High Criminal Court’s acceptance of the indictment, Kobulan's trial process began. The first hearing of the case was held on 26 December 2018. In his defense, Kobulan stated that all of the posts subject to the accusation were his own news and were within his journalism activity scope.
Özcan Kılıç, Kobulan's lawyer, emphasized that the social media posts subject to the trial are newsworthy and shared under the knowledge of the news outlet where his client works. Stating that he was the attorney of DİHA, lawyer Kılıç said: “Here, too, my client shared the news, but did not make any comment. There is no element of a crime. The investigation has not been made duly.”
The prosecutor, who presented his final opinion at the first hearing, demanded Kobulan’s conviction for the crime imposed on him.
The Istanbul 30th High Criminal Court, which announced its verdict at the second hearing of the case held on March 8, 2019, sentenced Kobulan to 1 year, 6 months and 22 days in prison for "systematically making propaganda for a terrorist organization through the press." The announcement of the verdict was adjourned.
Constitutional Court application
Kobulan's lawyers applied to the Constitutional Court on 8 May 2019. In the application, it was stated that the local court’s judgment was against the case-law of the Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights, and Kobulan's right to "expressing his opinion" and "his right to a fair trial" were violated.
Announcing its judgment on 16 September 2020, the Constitutional Court rejected the application. The Court stated that "there was no interference with the fundamental rights and freedoms stipulated in the Constitution” or that “the interference did not constitute a violation."