MEDIA FREEDOM
Turkey: Press freedom violations April 2019
30 Apr 2019
BY INDEX ON CENSORSHIP

Index on Censorship’s Monitoring and Advocating for Media Freedom project tracks press freedom violations in five countries: Azerbaijan, Belarus, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. Learn more.

32 Incidents

UPDATE: Compensation case against journalist Uludağ sent to commercial court

30 April 2019 – A compensation case filed against journalist Alican Uludağ by the discount market chain BİM, seeking TL 250,000 in non-pecuniary damages for a news report Uludağ penned for the Cumhuriyet daily, got under way in an Istanbul court.  

BİM is accusing Uludağ of damaging the company’s brand through his report and two social media posts.

Uludağ’s lawyer addressed the Anadolu 9th Civil Court of First Instance during the hearing, explaining to the court that Uludağ’s tweets and his report were part of press freedom, P24 reported.

At the end of the hearing, the Anadolu 9th Civil Court of First Instance ruled that it had no jurisdiction over the case and sent the case file to a commercial court.

Link(s):

https://twitter.com/P24DavaTakip/status/1123119872710516738

https://www.evrensel.net/haber/378539/gazeteci-alican-uludaga-acilan-tazminat-davasinda-gorevsizlik-karari

Categories: Subpoena / Court Order / Lawsuits

Source of violation: Subpoena / Court Order / Lawsuits

Yurt newspaper chief editor briefly detained

30 April 2019 – Ali Avcu, the editor-in-chief of Yurt newspaper, was taken into custody on at the Alibeyköy Police Station in Istanbul. Avcu was later referred to the Kartal Courthouse, where he was released after giving his statement. Avcu was detained on the grounds of a book he wrote in 2018, the newspaper reported.

Link(s):

http://www.yurtgazetesi.com.tr/medya/yurtboyunegmez-ali-avcu-serbest-birakildi-manidar-gerekce-h126485.html

https://gazetekarinca.com/2019/04/yurt-gazetesi-genel-yayin-yonetmeni-ali-avcu-serbest-birakildi/

https://tr.sputniknews.com/turkiye/201904301038902118-yurt-gazetesi-genel-yayin-yonetmeni-avcu-gozaltina-alindi/

Categories: Arrest / Detention / Interrogation

Source of violation: Police / State security

UPDATE: Court keeps Adil Demirci’s travel ban in place

30 April 2019 – Etkin news agency (ETHA) reporter Adil Demirci appeared before an Istanbul court for his trial on the charges of “membership in a terrorist group” and “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist group.” This was the fifth hearing in the case, overseen by the 25th High Criminal Court of Istanbul.

Demirci, who also holds a German passport, is among 23 defendants in the case. Of the 23, four are in pre-trial detention. Demirci was released at the end of the previous hearing in February.

During the hearing, which was also observed by representatives from the German Consulate-General in Istanbul, the prosecutor asked the court to release the remaining jailed defendants based on available evidence and the time they spent in detention.

The presiding judge asked Demirci about a criminal intelligence report alleging that Demirci “went to Syria and Iraq as a courier.” Demirci denied the allegation and told the court that he has never been to Syria or Iraq. His lawyer Keleş Öztürk said the intelligence report about Demirci was an unlawfully drafted document and should therefore be removed from the case file.

Demirci also requested the court to lift his travel ban. The court refused to lift the judicial control measures imposed on Demirci and adjourned the trial until 15 October 2019.

Link(s):

https://twitter.com/P24DavaTakip/status/1123191447056994307

https://www.dw.com/en/german-turkish-journalist-adil-demirci-forced-to-stay-in-turkey/a-48556233

https://www.zeit.de/gesellschaft/zeitgeschehen/2019-04/adil-demirci-tuerkei-terrorvorwurf-sozialarbeiter-koeln-prozess-heimreise

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

UPDATE: Ahmet Altan acquitted in lawsuit filed by former chief of general staff

26 April 2019 – Two separate lawsuits where imprisoned journalist and author Ahmet Altan is accused of “insult,” “attempting to influence trial process,” and “violation of confidentiality” were heard at the Anadolu 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance.

The court first heard the lawsuit where Altan is accused of “violating the confidentiality of an investigation”and “attempting to influence courtroom proceedings” for his article titled “Mafyanın dışında kim kaldı” (Who is left other than the mafia), published in 2009 in the Taraf daily, which was closed down during the State of Emergency.

Issuing an interim ruling at the end of the hearing, the judge said the case would be dismissed on the condition that a judicial fine worth a total of TL 1,061 is paid within 10 days, P24 reported. The court postponed the trial until 25 June.

The court later heard the second lawsuit, which was filed by İlker Başbuğ, the former chief of General Staff. Altan was charged with “insult” in the case, which concerned an article he wrote in 2010 in the Taraf daily. The court acquitted Altan of the charge, ruling that the legal elements of the crime were not present.

Link(s):

https://expressioninterrupted.com/ahmet-altan-acquitted-in-lawsuit-filed-by-former-chief-of-general-staff/

https://t24.com.tr/haber/ahmet-altan-ilker-basbug-un-actigi-hakaret-davasindan-beraat-etti,818520

https://www.evrensel.net/haber/378217/ahmet-altan-hakaret-suclamasindan-beraat-etti

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

İlave TV reporter to stand trial for “insulting Erdoğan”

26 April 2019 – Arif Kocabıyık, a reporter for the online broadcaster İlave TV, will be standing trial on the charge of “insulting a public official” over a social media post he shared during the time when Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was Turkey’s Prime Minister. The trial was launched over his comment in which he said “crocodile tears” under a picture of Erdoğan.

Kocabıyık told BirGün daily that the initial allegation in the investigation was “insulting the president” although Erdoğan was prime minister at the time. He said the allegation was later changed to “insulting a public official.”

Kocabıyık’s trial will begin on 26 September 2019.

Link(s):

https://www.birgun.net/haber-detay/ilave-tv-muhabirine-erdogana-hakaretten-sorusturma.html

http://www.diken.com.tr/erdogana-hakarette-bugun-timsah-gozyaslari-yorumuna-dava/

https://www.abcgazetesi.com/bir-erdogana-hakaret-davasi-da-ilave-tv-muhabirine-11580

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

UPDATE: Former Cumhuriyet staff members sent back to prison

25 April 2019 – Six former staff members of the Cumhuriyet daily returned to prison on to serve the remainder of the sentences they were given last year in the lengthy “Cumhuriyet trial.”

The 27th High Criminal Court of Istanbul had convicted former columnists and executives of the newspaper on the charge of “aiding a terrorist organization without being its member” last year at the end of the trial. In February 2019, the 3rd Criminal Chamber of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice rejected the appeals against the verdict, thus finalizing the proceedings against eight of the defendants with sentences under 5 years in prison. Cases of defendants with sentences over 5 years in prison will be further reviewed by the Supreme Court of Appeals.

The trial court issued an order for the execution of the eight sentences on Thursday, issuing arrest warrants for Güray Öz, Önder Çelik, Musa Kart, Hakan Kara, Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Bülent Utku and Emre İper. The prosecution issued a summons for Kadri Gürsel. Öz, Çelik, Kart, Kara, Güngör and İper reported to the Kocaeli Courthouse on Thursday afternoon, from where they were sent to the Kandıra Prison.

Link(s):

https://medyascope.tv/2019/04/25/cumhuriyet-gazetesinin-eski-calisanlari-yeniden-cezaevinde/

https://www.evrensel.net/haber/378169/eski-cumhuriyet-calisanlari-yeniden-cezaevine-girdi

https://www.dw.com/tr/cumhuriyet-%C3%A7al%C4%B1%C5%9Fanlar%C4%B1-yeniden-cezaevinde-ho%C5%9F%C3%A7akal%C4%B1n/a-48490879

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

Journalist Erk Acarer faces investigation: report

25 April 2019 – A  newspaper report claimed that an investigation was under way against journalist Erk Acarer, who works for daily Birgün and private broadcaster Artı TV. Acarer is allegedly accused of “inciting the public to hatred and animosity” on social media.

The Sabah daily, owned by Serhat Albayrak – the brother of Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak –  reported that police drafted a criminal complaint concerning Acarer’s social media accounts after a tip-off. The complaint was sent to the prosecutor’s office, who decided to launch an investigation into Acarer, the report claimed.

Link(s):

https://www.sabah.com.tr/gundem/2019/04/25/birgun-yazarina-sorusturma

https://www.evrensel.net/haber/378129/sabah-birgun-yazari-erk-acarere-sorusturma-baslatildigini-iddia-etti

https://gazetekarinca.com/2019/04/gazeteci-erk-acarer-hakkinda-sorusturma-baslatildi/

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

UPDATE: Cem Şimşek’s trial adjourned until September

25 April 2019 – A trial in which Cem Şimşek, the former responsible managing editor of the Evrensel daily, stands accused of “defaming” and “insulting” Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak resumed in Istanbul.

Şimşek and his lawyers were in attendance at the third hearing in the case, overseen by the Bakırköy 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance. The accusations stem from a news story published in Evrensel on 14 July 2018.

Addressing the court for his defense statement, Şimşek said that the newspaper ran a proper rebuttal as requested by the plaintiff, daily Evrensel reported. He added that the news article consisted of remarks by an expert in economics and did not include any insulting expressions. Şimşek asked the court to consider the new article a part of the public’s right to information and requested to be acquitted.

The court adjourned the trial until 12 September, granting additional time to Şimşek’s lawyers to produce a hard copy of the newspaper in which the said rebuttal was published.

Link(s):

https://www.evrensel.net/haber/378139/gazeteci-cem-simsek-albayraka-hakaret-iddiasina-yanit-verdi

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Government / State Agency / Public official(s) / Political party

UPDATE: Çiğdem Toker faces lawsuit filed by Turkey’s postal services

25 April 2019 – A lawsuit filed against economy journalist Çiğdem Toker by Turkey’s postal service PTT resumed in an Ankara court, RSF Turkey reported. The PTT is seeking TL 50,000 in non-pecuniary damages in the lawsuit, based on a column Toker wrote in April 2018 for the Cumhuriyet daily.

The Ankara 20th Civil Court of First Instance adjourned the trial until 11 June 2019.

Link(s):

https://twitter.com/RSF_tr/status/1121376221697327104

Categories: Subpoena / Court Order / Lawsuits

Source of violation: Corporation / Company

UPDATE: Court keeps journalist İsminaz Temel’s travel ban in place

24 April 2019 – A trial where 23 defendants, including Etkin news agency (ETHA) editor İsminaz Temel and reporter Havva Cuştan, face terrorism-related charges resumed in an Istanbul court.

Journalists Temel and Cuştan and several of their co-defendants as well as defense lawyers were in attendance, P24 reported. Cuştan had remained in pre-trial detention for nine months and Temel for 16 months as part of the case before being released by the court.

Issuing an interim ruling at the end of the hearing, the 27th High Criminal Court of Istanbul ruled to release Coşkun Yiğit and Erkan Kakça from pre-trial detention. With the decision, none of the 23 defendant remain in pre-trial jail. The court, however, rejected the requests to lift the judicial control measures imposed on Temel and her co-defendants, adjourning the trial until 3 September 2019.

Link(s):

https://twitter.com/P24DavaTakip/status/1120947761933889536

https://www.evrensel.net/haber/378072/espli-erkan-kakca-ve-coskun-yigit-tahliye-edildi

https://mezopotamyaajansi17.com/tum-haberler/content/view/55354

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

UPDATE: Prosecutor seeks conviction for eight defendants in “Sözcü trial”

18 April 2019 – The seventh hearing in the “Sözcü trial,” where a total of nine columnists, executives and editors of the newspaper stand took place at the 37th High Criminal Court of Istanbul. In the indictment prepared by the prosecutor the defendants are accused of “aiding a terrorist organization without being its member.”

The judges announced that the prosecution submitted their final opinion of the case on 17 April, only a day before the hearing, P24 reported. According to the document the prosecutor is seeking up to 10 years in prison for Emin Çölaşan, Necati Doğru, Gökmen Ulu, Metin Yılmaz, Mustafa Çetin, Yücel Arı and Yonca Yücekaleli for “knowingly and willingly aiding the ‘FETÖ/PDY’ without being part of its hierarchical structure.” FETÖ/PDY stands for “Fethullahist Terrorist Organization/Parallel State Structure,” the name given by the Turkish government to the religious Fethullah Gülen network.

The prosecution asked the court to apply “effective remorse” provisions in the sentence they sought for Mediha Olgun. The prosecutor lastly requested the court to separate the file against Burak Akbay, the former publisher of Sözcü who is currently overseas and sought for with an arrest warrant, on the grounds that he had yet to make his defense statement.

In its interim decision, the court rejected the defense lawyers’ requests for further investigation; ruled to keep the arrest warrant for Akbay in place; and adjourned the trial until 14 June.

Link(s):

https://twitter.com/P24DavaTakip/status/1118767339707740160

https://www.sozcu.com.tr/2019/gundem/gazetecilik-yargilaniyor-4469408/

http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/gundem/sozcu-gazetesi-davasinda-savci-mutalaasini-verdi-41186629

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

UPDATE: Journalist Kibriye Evren ordered to remain behind bars

16 April 2019 – The trial into jailed journalist Kibriye Evren on terrorism-related charges resumed in a Diyarbakır court, online news website Gazete Karınca reported.

This was the fourth hearing in the case, overseen by the 5th High Criminal Court of Diyarbakır. Evren, who is jailed in the Diyarbakır Prison and has been in a hunger strike for 122 days, did not attend the hearing.

In its interim ruling at the end of the hearing, the court ordered the continuation of Evren’s pre-trial detention and adjourned her trial until 7 May.

Link(s):

https://gazetekarinca.com/2019/04/aclik-grevindeki-gazeteci-kibriye-evrene-tahliye-yok/

https://www.gazeteduvar.com.tr/gundem/2019/04/16/122-gundur-aclik-grevinde-olan-gazeteci-evren-tahliye-edilmedi/

https://www.gercekgundem.com/medya/86270/gazeteci-kibriye-evren-tahliye-edilmedi

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

UPDATE: “Redhack trial” into 6 journalists adjourned until September

16 April 2019 – The “RedHack trial,” where six journalists stand accused of “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization,” “hindrance or destruction of a data processing system,” “aiding a terrorist organization without being its member” and “terrorist group membership” for their coverage concerning the emails of Minister Berat Albayrak leaked by RedHack, resumed at an Istanbul court.

Journalists Derya Okatan, Tunca Öğreten, Mahir Kanaat, Eray Sargın, Metin Yoksu and Ömer Çelik stand accused in the case, overseen by the 29th High Criminal Court of Istanbul, P24 reported.

The presiding judge announced during the hearing that a case file relating to an investigation launched against Çelik in 2015 by the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has been merged with the present case and a new indictment has been issued. In the new indictment, Çelik is accused of “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist group” for his social media posts in 2015.

In its interim ruling, the court accepted Yoksu and Okatan’s requests to be held exempt from appearing in court, but rejected the same request from Ömer Çelik on the grounds that he had yet to make his defense statement in relation to the new case file. The court set 24 September as the date for the next hearing.

Link(s):

https://twitter.com/P24DavaTakip/status/1118042549845934081

https://t24.com.tr/haber/red-hack-davasinda-yedinci-durusma-gazetecilik-faaliyetlerimden-dolayi-yargilaniyorum,817099

https://gazetekarinca.com/2019/04/davanin-hukuki-temeli-cokmustur-redhack-davasinda-bilirkisi-raporu-mahkemeye-ulasti/

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

UPDATE: Prosecutor seeks sentence for P24 founding President Hasan Cemal

16 April 2019 – P24’s Founding President and T24 columnist Hasan Cemal appeared in an Istanbul court for the second hearing of his trial on the charge of “propaganda” for a column he wrote on 4 December 2015.

Submitting his final opinion, the prosecutor requested Cemal to be convicted for the alleged crime of “conducting propaganda for a terrorist organization,” P24 reported.

Accepting the request by Cemal and his lawyer for a continuance to prepare their final defense statement, the 36th High Criminal Court of Istanbul adjourned the trial until 7 May.

Link(s):

https://twitter.com/P24DavaTakip/status/1118029850034438144

https://t24.com.tr/haber/hasan-cemal-hakkinda-acilan-dava-ertelendi,817017

https://www.dw.com/tr/gazeteci-hasan-cemal-hakk%C4%B1nda-hapis-talebi/a-48348929

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

UPDATE: Journalist Gökhan Öner given 10-month sentence on “propaganda” charge

15 April 2019 – The final hearing of a trial where journalist Gökhan Öner, a former reporter for the shuttered Dicle news agency (DİHA), was accused of terrorism related charges, took place in the western Anatolian town of Denizli.

The prosecutor submitted their final opinion of the case during the hearing, in which they requested Öner to be acquitted of the “terrorist group membership” charge due to insufficient evidence, but asked the 2nd High Criminal Court of Denizli to convict the journalist of the “propaganda” charge on account of his reporting for DİHA.

Issuing its verdict at the end of the hearing, the 2nd High Criminal Court of Denizli acquitted Öner of the “membership” charge but found him guilty of “propagandası” and sentenced him to 10 months in prison, Mezopotamya Agency reported. The court deferred Öner’s sentence by five years.

Link(s):

http://mezopotamyaajansi16.com/tum-haberler/content/view/54381?page=5

https://gazetekarinca.com/2019/04/gazeteci-gokhan-onere-10-ay-hapis-cezasi/

https://www.evrensel.net/haber/377527/gazeteci-gokhan-onere-10-ay-hapis

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

UPDATE: Özgür Gündem solidarity trial adjourned

15 April 2019 – The 10th hearing in a trial where Professor Şebnem Korur Fincancı, the president of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV), Erol Önderoğlu, the Turkey representative of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), and journalist-writer Ahmet Nesin stand accused of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization,” “incitement to commit crime” and “praising crime and criminals” for joining in the “substitute editor-in-chief” campaign for the shuttered Özgür Gündem newspaper was held.

Erol Önderoğlu made his defense statement in response to the prosecutor’s final opinion during the hearing, P24 reported.

In their interim ruling at the end of the hearing, the 13th High Criminal Court of Istanbul granted additional time for the preparation of the remaining defense statements; accepted Önderoğlu’s request to be held exempt from appearing in court, and adjourned the trial until 17 July.

Link(s):

https://expressioninterrupted.com/ozgur-gundem-solidarity-trial-adjourned/

https://twitter.com/P24DavaTakip/status/1117678855379214336

https://bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/207477-onderoglu-we-give-2-5-years-of-our-lives-to-an-indictment-prepared-in-one-day

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

Columnist fired after calling Minister of Finance to resign

11 April 2019 – Hüsamettin Aslan, a columnist for the conservative Milat daily, was dismissed after calling the Minister of Treasury and Finance, Berat Albayrak, to resign. Albayrak, who took over all functions previously performed by two separate ministers in the new cabinet announced on July 2018, is also President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son-in-law.

“Milat has decided to stop publishing my columns after the comment I made on social media arguing that ‘Berat Albayrak should resign,’” Aslan said according to online platform against censorship Susma’s report. “The criticism against this intra-family reorganization, vocally denounced inside the AKP’s [Justice and Development Party] base, has spread to the streets. As Turkey is giving a struggle for survival, criticizing this nonsense in a polite manner and explaining it with a constructive disapproval was necessary,” he said.

Link(s):

http://susma24.com/milatta-iktidari-elestiren-aslanin-yazilarina-son/

https://t24.com.tr/haber/berat-albayrak-istifa-etmeli-diyen-yazar-kovuldu,816507

https://www.yenicaggazetesi.com.tr/albayraka-istifa-et-dedi-gazeteden-kovuldu-230275h.htm

Categories: Other Serious Issues (Dismissal)

Source of violation: Employer / Publisher / Colleague(s)

UPDATE: Austrian journalist Max Zirngast appears in first courtroom hearing

11 April 2019 – The first courtroom hearing in the trial of Austrian journalist and academic researcher Max Zirngast took place in Ankara.

Zirngast, who was arrested in the Turkish capital in September 2018, remained in detention on remand for three months before being released pending trial in late December. The 26th High Criminal Court of Ankara, which is overseeing the trial, had imposed on Zirngast and his co-defendants an international travel ban.

Zirngast and his co-defendants Mithatcan Türetken, Hatice Göz and Burçin Tekdemir are accused of “membership in a terrorist group” on the allegation that they are linked with the organization “TKP/Kıvılcım,” a fraction that broke off from the Communist Party.

All four defendants and their lawyers were in attendance at the first hearing, DW reported. Addressing the court for their defense statements, the defendants rejected the accusations.

Issuing an interim decision at the end of the hearing, the court ruled for the continuation of the international travel ban imposed on the defendants and adjourned the trial until 11 September.

Link(s):

https://www.dw.com/cda/tr/zirngast%C4%B1n-yurtd%C4%B1%C5%9F%C4%B1na-%C3%A7%C4%B1k%C4%B1%C5%9F-yasa%C4%9F%C4%B1-devam-edecek/a-48282679

https://www.gercekgundem.com/medya/85208/avusturyali-gazeteci-zirngastin-davasi-basladi

https://www.jungewelt.de/artikel/352764.t%C3%BCrkei-prozess-gegen-max-zirngast-beginnt.html

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

UPDATE: Deniz Yücel’s trial adjourned until July

11 April 2019 – The trial of Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yücel, the former Turkey correspondent of the German newspaper Die Welt, resumed on 11 April in Istanbul. Yücel is charged with “disseminating propaganda for FETÖ/PDY and PKK/KCK” and “inciting the public to hatred and animosity.”

Yücel was represented by his lawyer Veysel Ok during the third hearing in the case, overseen by the 32nd High Criminal Court of Istanbul. Ok told the court that Yücel was scheduled to make his defense statement on 10 May in Berlin and requested a continuance until after Yücel’s statement is heard, P24 reported. Accepting the lawyer’s request, the court adjourned the trial until 16 July.

Link(s):

https://twitter.com/P24DavaTakip/status/1116255166968233990

https://bianet.org/english/law/207375-journalist-deniz-yucel-to-testify-in-berlin-in-may

https://www.dw.com/tr/deniz-y%C3%BCcel-davas%C4%B1-11-nisana-ertelendi/a-46815700

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

UPDATE: Local journalists, politician acquitted in “incitement” case

10 April 2019 – A trial where journalists from two local newspapers in the Aegean town of Didim stood accused of “inciting the public to hatred and animosity” for publishing a press statement by local representatives from Turkey’s Labour Party (EMEP) resumed.

Mustafa Öge, the owner of the newspaper Didim Özgürses, Ergün Korkmaz, who owns the newspaper Mavi Didim, Erdem Özden, a reporter for the latter, along with the district chair of EMEP, Kazım Temiz, were all acquitted at the end of the fourth hearing. The case was overseen by the 1st Criminal Court of First Instance of Didim.

The trial was launched over the publication of a statement by EMEP on Turkey’s military operation on the Syrian city of Afrin on January 2018.

Link(s):

https://www.evrensel.net/haber/377248/emep-aciklamasini-yayimladiklari-icin-yargilanan-gazetecilere-beraat

https://tihv.org.tr/11-nisan-2019-gunluk-insan-haklari-raporu/

http://www.dusun-think.net/dosya/bulten/19041215-19-haftalik-du776s807u776nce-o776zgu776rlu776g774u776-bu776lteni.pdf

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

UPDATE: Court rules for publisher’s release in Özgür Gündem trial

10 April 2019 – The “Özgür Gündem main trial,” where nine defendants stand accused of “disrupting the unity and integrity of the state” and “membership in a terrorist organization,” resumed on at the Istanbul courthouse.

This was the 12th hearing in the case, which is overseen by the 23rd High Criminal Court of Istanbul. Keskin and the newspaper’s jailed publisher Sancılı were in attendance, P24 reported. Sancılı was brought from the a prison in the city of Edirne, where he is currently serving a previous sentence.

Issuing an interim decision at the end of the hearing, the court ruled for Sancılı’s release. However, Sancılı will remain in prison because of a previous sentence. The court also ruled to hand over the case file to the prosecution for the drafting of their final opinion and adjourned the trial until 3 July.

Link(s):

https://twitter.com/P24DavaTakip/status/1115857405387186179

https://gazetekarinca.com/2019/04/ozgur-gundemin-imtiyaz-sahibi-kemal-sancili-hakkinda-tahliye-karari/

https://t24.com.tr/haber/kapatilan-ozgur-gundem-in-imtiyaz-sahibi-kemal-sancili-hakkinda-tahliye-karar,816216

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

UPDATE: Two Özgürlükçü Demokrasi editors released

10 April 2019 – The fourth hearing in the trial into 14 employees of the shuttered daily Özgürlükçü Demokrasi on terrorism-related charges took place at the Istanbul courthouse.

The pro-Kurdish newspaper’s publisher İhsan Yaşar, responsible managing editor İshak Yasul, editors Mehmet Ali Çelebi and Hicran Urun were in attendance as well as unjailed defendants Pınar Tarlak and Ramazan Sola. The newspaper’s editor Reyhan Hacıoğlu, who has also been jailed pending trial since April 2018, did not attend, P24 reported.

The prosecutor submitted his final opinion of the case during the hearing, asking the court to convict Urun, Çelebi, Tarlak, Yasul, Yaşar and Hacıoğlu of “membership in an armed terrorist organization,” “successively publishing terrorist group publications” and “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization.” The prosecutor requested that Ramazan Sola and Mizgin Fendik be convicted of “aiding a terrorist organization without being its member.”

The prosecution requested the continuation of the detention of all jailed defendants.

Issuing an interim decision at the end of the hearing, the 23rd High Criminal Court of Istanbul ruled to release Yasul and Urun pending the conclusion of the trial and set 28 June as the date for the next hearing in the case.

Link(s):

https://twitter.com/P24DavaTakip/status/1115927899637469184

https://gazetekarinca.com/2019/04/ozgurlukcu-demokrasi-davasinda-iki-tahliye-karari/

https://bianet.org/bianet/ifade-ozgurlugu/207337-gazeteciler-ishak-yasul-ve-hicran-urun-tahliye-edildi

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

Jailed publisher Mehmet Ali Genç acquitted in “propaganda” case

9 April 2019 – Mehmet Ali Genç, the publisher and former managing editor of Varyos Publications, appeared in an Istanbul court for the fourth hearing of his trial on the charges of “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist group” and “praising crime or a criminal.” The charges stemmed from an article Genç had penned for the women’s magazine Sosyalist Kadın.

Genç was brought to the Istanbul Courthouse for the 9 April hearing, overseen by the 23rd High Criminal Court of Istanbul. He was accompanied by his lawyer Kader Tonç.

Genç is currently imprisoned in Adana, serving three separate convictions from previous trials where the accusations stemmed from his time as the responsible managing editor of the leftist Atılım newspaper, his lawyer told P24.

Rendering its verdict at the end of the hearing, the court ruled to drop the “propaganda” charge against Genç based on the statute of limitations in Turkey’s press law, and acquitted Genç of the “praising crime or a criminal” charge.

Link(s):

http://www.etha6.com/Haberler/mehmet-ali-genc-hakkinda-beraat-karari/9/11593

https://tihv.org.tr/10-nisan-2019-gunluk-insan-haklari-raporu/

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

Detained journalist Oktay Candemir released on bail

7 April 2019 – Journalist Oktay Candemir, who was arrested during a police raid on his apartment in the eastern province of Van, was released from custody on 7 April. Candemir, who was brought to the Van courthouse following his interrogation at the local police department, was referred to a court by a prosecutor who requested the journalist to be jailed pending trial on the charge of “terrorist group membership.” Candemir was released by the court under judicial control measures.

Link(s):

http://mezopotamyaajansi16.com/tum-haberler/content/view/53544?page=3

https://gazetekarinca.com/2019/04/gazeteci-oktay-candemir-serbest-birakildi/

https://www.artigercek.com/haberler/gazeteci-oktay-candemir-serbest-birakildi

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

UPDATE: Diyarbakır-based journalist Sertaç Kayar’s trial adjourned until June

5 April 2019 – A trial in which freelance journalist Sertaç Kayar faces up to 22 years in prison on the charge of “establishing and leading a terrorist organization” resumed at the 10th High Criminal Court of Diyarbakır.

Issuing an interim ruling at the end of the hearing, the court adjourned the trial until 26 June, P24 reported. The court said it would await the testimony of a witness mentioned in the case file, which will be heard by a High Criminal Court in the central Anatolian province of Çorum.

This was the third hearing in the case, where Kayar is accused based on his coverage of demonstrations and public statements in Diyarbakır.

Link(s):

https://twitter.com/P24DavaTakip/status/1114057233548107776

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

UPDATE: Editor Haydar Ergül released after 15 months in pre-trial detention

5 April 2019 – A trial in which Haydar Ergül, an editor with the periodical Demokratik Modernite is among 19 defendants, resumed in Istanbul.

Ergül, who had been in detention on remand since January 2018, is charged with “membership in a terrorist group” in the case overseen by the 22nd High Criminal Court of Istanbul. Among Ergül’s co-defendants in the case are members and administrators of People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and the Democratic Regions Party (DBP).

Issuing an interim ruling at the end of the hearing, the court ruled for Ergül’s release pending the conclusion of the trial, P24 reported. Judicial control measures were imposed on Ergül in the form of an international travel ban and reporting to the nearest police station once a month to give his signature. The court set 28 June as the date for the next hearing.

Link(s):

https://twitter.com/P24DavaTakip/status/1114148084219564032

https://gazetekarinca.com/2019/04/15-aydir-tutukluydu-gazeteci-haydar-ergul-tahliye-edildi/

http://mezopotamyaajansi16.com/tum-haberler/content/view/53381

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

UPDATE: Alican Uludağ and Duygu Güvenç’s trial adjourned

4 April 2019 – The second hearing of a trial where journalists Alican Uludağ and Duygu Güvenç stand accused of “publicly degrading the judiciary” took place at the 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance of Istanbul.

Uludağ and Güvenç are accused on account of their reporting in the Cumhuriyet newspaper on the developments surrounding US pastor Andrew Brunson, who remained in detention in Turkey for two years before being released in October.

The trial was adjourned until 20 June because the judge was on leave, P24 reported.

Link(s):

https://twitter.com/P24DavaTakip/status/1113695298084380673

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

UPDATE: Libel case against Çiğdem Toker to continue in July

4 April 2019 – Çiğdem Toker, a prominent economy columnist for the Sözcü daily, appeared before an Ankara court on 4 April for the second hearing of a lawsuit filed by a Turkish mining company. The company, Şenbay Madencilik, is seeking a record TL 1.5 million in compensation for a column Toker penned for the Cumhuriyet daily in October 2017.

Toker and her lawyer were in attendance for the hearing at the 13th Civil Court of First Instance of Ankara. In their interim ruling, the court decided to request from the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure the official records of the tender Toker wrote about in her column, online news website T24 reported, and adjourned the lawsuit until 9 July.

Link(s):

https://t24.com.tr/haber/cigdem-toker-e-acilan-1-5-milyon-liralik-tazminat-davasi-basladi,815356

https://www.evrensel.net/haber/376920/gazeteci-cigdem-tokerin-davasi-9-temmuza-ertelendi

https://www.gercekgundem.com/medya/83431/cigdem-tokere-acilan-tazminat-davasinda-yeni-gelisme

Categories: Subpoena / Court Order / Lawsuits

Source of violation: Corporation / Company

UPDATE: Journalist Ayşegül Doğan’s trial adjourned until September

3 April 2019 – The trial of journalist Ayşegül Doğan, a former program coordinator for the shuttered television station İMC TV, who is charged with “establishing or leading an armed organization,” resumed at the 9th High Criminal Court of Diyarbakır, online news website Gazete Karınca reported.

This was the second hearing in the case, where Doğan’s interviews as a journalist with DTK administrators are held as evidence against her. The court adjourned the trial until 11 September, awaiting a comparative forensic examination of audio recordings in the case file and a sample of Doğan’s voice.

Link(s):

http://gazetekarinca.com/2019/04/gazeteci-aysegul-doganin-davasi-ertelendi/

https://www.evrensel.net/haber/376881/gazeteci-aysegul-doganin-ses-kayit-ornekleri-alinacak

https://jinnews.com.tr/TUM-HABERLER/content/view/106937

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

UPDATE: Evrensel columnist Karataş’s trial adjourned until September

3 April 2019 – Yusuf Karataş, a columnist for Evrensel daily, appeared in a Diyarbakır court for the fifth hearing of his trial on the charge of “establishing and leading a terrorist group.”

Karataş faces up to 22.5 years in prison in the trial, one of many similar criminal cases where the accusations stem from audio recordings of speeches delivered by participants during Democratic Society Congress (DTK) rallies. Karataş was arrested and jailed pending trial in July 2017 as part of an investigation into DTK. He was released pending trial in September 2017.

Karataş requested the court to lift his international travel ban because it prevented him from attending international events he is invited as a politician and a columnist.

In its interim ruling, the 9th High Criminal Court of Diyarbakır rejected Karataş’s request and adjourned the trial until 11 September, awaiting the completion of the forensic examination of audio tapes by the Council of Forensic Medicine in Istanbul.

Link(s):

https://twitter.com/P24DavaTakip/status/1113326549107912704

https://www.evrensel.net/haber/376866/yazarimiz-yusuf-karatasin-yurt-disi-yasagi-yine-kaldirilmadi

https://www.gazeteduvar.com.tr/gundem/2019/04/03/yusuf-karatasin-yurtdisi-yasagi-kaldirilmadi/

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

 

Mezopotamya Agency reporter Ahmet Kanbal briefly detained

 

3 April 2019 – Mezopotamya news agency reporter Ahmet Kanbal was taken into custody in the Nusaybin district of Mardin province while covering a news story, the agency reported.

Kanbal was reportedly arrested because he had failed to show up to give his defense statement as part of a court case. Kanbal was released later in the day by the Nusaybin 1st Criminal Court of First Instance after giving his statement.

Link(s):

http://mezopotamyaajansi17.com/tum-haberler/content/view/53013

https://twitter.com/dokuz8haber/status/1113363004714676224

https://www.evrensel.net/haber/376862/gozaltina-alinan-ma-muhabiri-ahmet-kanbal-serbest-birakildi

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

 

Nine journalists sentenced for solidarity with Özgür Gündem

 

3 April 2019 – The court announced its verdict at the end of the 11th hearing in the trial of 13 defendants accused of “conducting propaganda for a terrorist organization” for participating in the “substitute editor-in-chief” campaign to show solidarity with the pro-Kurdish Özgür Gündem newspaper, which was closed down in 2016.

The final hearing of the trial took place on 3 April at the 14th High Criminal Court of Istanbul.

The court convicted journalists Hüseyin Aykol, Faruk Eren, Ertuğrul Mavioğlu, Fehim Işık, Celal Başlangıç, Öncü Akgül, İhsan Çaralan, Celalettin Can and Dilşah Kocakaya of the “propaganda” charge and sentenced them to a total of 14 years and 3 months in prison, P24 reported. The court deferred the sentences of six defendants while Akyol, Can and Kocakaya’s sentences were not deferred.

Following the completion of the defense statements, the court went on to issue its verdict in which it found nine defendants guilty of the “propaganda” charge.

The newspaper’s former co-editor-in-chief Hüseyin Akyol was sentenced to 3 years and 9 months in prison for “successively disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization.” Aykol’s co-defendants Faruk Eren, Ertuğrul Mavioğlu, Fehim Işık, Celal Başlangıç, Öncü Akgül, İhsan Çaralan and Celalettin Can were each sentenced to a prison term of 1 year and 3 months. All sentences except the one imposed on Celalettin Can were deferred.

The court acquitted Mehmet Şirin Taşdemir, Ömer Ağın, Veysel Kemer and Yüksel Oğuz, who were on trial for the letters they sent to Özgür Gündem from prison, which the newspaper had published. The court also convicted Dilşah Kocakaya of the “propaganda” charge and imposed on Kocakaya a 15-month sentence.

The sentences will be reviewed by an appellate court.

Link(s): https://www.evrensel.net/haber/376875/ozgur-gundem-nobetci-genel-yayin-yonetmenligi-davasinda-ceza-yagdi

https://medyascope.tv/2019/04/03/ozgur-gundem-nobetci-genel-yayin-yonetmenleri-davasinda-gazetecilere-ceza-yagdi/

http://bianet.org/bianet/medya/207080-nobetci-yayin-yonetmenleri-davasinda-9-kisiye-hapis-cezasi

https://twitter.com/P24DavaTakip/status/1113322983588757504

Categories: Criminal Charges / Fines / Sentences

Source of violation: Court / Judicial

Governments must not “cherry pick” media outlets

Index on Censorship condemns the decision by the UK Foreign Office to deny accreditation to Russia’s RT and Sputnik news agencies to attend its media freedom conference.

Project Exile: Reporter escaped Russia after beating, burns

Fatima Tlisova didn’t make it easy for the Russian government to get rid of her. As a reporter covering Russia’s fight against Chechen separatists in what was known as the Second Chechen war in the early 2000s, she was kidnapped, beaten and had her fingertips burned with cigarettes by Russian security forces.

Governments must uphold existing global commitments to protect media

States must uphold existing global commitments to protect media but also be willing to speak out publicly when others fail to protect journalists and journalism, Index on Censorship said on Tuesday.

Project Exile: Criticising Kurdish referendum forces journalist to leave Iraq

Despite Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region’s close ties to the U.S. and billions of dollars in foreign investment, Iraqi Kurdistan is no easy place to be a journalist. Kamal Chomani’s experience is just one example.

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