Court ruled to keep journalist Öztürk in jail

1 November 2018

Cansu Pişkin, İstanbul - First hearing of journalist Ece Sevim Öztürk in which she is charged with “willingly abetting a terrorist organization” and “terrorist propaganda” was held at İstanbul 37. High Criminal Court. The court ruled to keep Öztürk in prison and adjourned the hearing until 11 December.

Öztürk’s six tweets that she posted from her personal Twitter account, and the documentary she made titled: “The darkest day of the Navy: July 15” are presented as evidence against her in the indictment prepared by the prosecutor. She had spent five months in detention before appearing before a judge for the first time. She is accused of “promoting chaos before the 24 June elections”, “willingly abetting a terrorist organization” and “terrorist propaganda”.

Öztürk and her lawyers were present in the hearing, which was monitored by Republican People’s Party MPs Gamze İlgezdi, Turan Karakaş, Tanju Özcan, and Mahmut Tanal, along with the Netherlands Consul.

‘I was not aiming to defame the court, I wanted to fill them in’

Öztürk took the floor to submit her defense statement and noted that she has been imprisoned for five months because she is an investigative journalist. Öztürk, who is held at Bakırköy Women’s Prison stated that she has been kept in solitary confinement and added, “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen so many people, therefore I am a little confused.”

She said, “I am accused of promoting chaos before the 24 June elections. I have been preparing to write a book, making research over the missing parts of the July 15 coup attempt. I am especially being accused of the part where I wrote about the Marmaris folder. I wrote that some of the evidence regarding the assassination plan of the president were not delivered to the court. I mentioned that there was another team involved in the assassination plan, my intention was not to defame the court, but to fill in the missing parts in the case file.”

‘The judiciary is reluctant to apply the laws’

Öztürk’s lawyer Efkan Bolaç defined the proceeding as a shame and noted, “The only wrongful act of my client is that she was too curious. The judiciary in Turkey is reluctant to apply the laws. There is no crime in the indictment, it is as if you are expecting my client to prove her innocence.”

Hearing was adjourned

After the defense statements, the prosecutor expressed his opinion and requested the continuation of detention of Öztürk, claiming that there is strong doubt and escape risk in the case. The court recessed for 20 minutes and after the break, ruled to keep Öztürk in detention and adjourned the hearing until 11 December for the prosecutor to prepare his final opinion.