Court seeks the Ministry’s permission to try journalist Kanbal with Article 301

19 March 2019
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In the trial where journalist Ahmet Kanbal faces “terrorist propaganda” charges, the panel of judges ruled to seek the Ministry of Justice's permission in order to continue proceedings pursuant to the notorious Article 301, which is about denigrating the Turkish nation

İzmir - Third hearing of the trial where journalist Ahmet Kanbal is accused of successively “making propaganda for a terrorist organization through press” for the news stories he shared on his social media account took place at İzmir 2nd High Criminal Court. Kanbal and his lawyers Erdal Kuzu and Ali Kahraman attended the hearing via SEGBİS video-conferencing link from a courtroom in Mardin.

During the hearing, the prosecution repeated their indictment from the file. Defense lawyers noted that social  media posts and news stories that are defined as criminal elements should be evaluated within the scope of freedom of expression. Lawyer Kuzu stated that Kanbal’s posts about Turkish military operations in Afrin do not fit the alleged offenses and demanded the journalist’s acquittal.

Kanbal repeated his defense statement from the previous hearing, emphasizing that his social media posts on Turkish military’s operations in Afrin are not illegal, that he had exercised his right to freedom of expression. Kanbal requested his acquittal.

In its interim decision, the court ruled that permission of the Ministry of Justice shall be requested in order to continue the proceedings pursuant to the notorious Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, which is about denigrating the Turkish nation. If the Prosecutor’s Office does not object to this decision within a week, the date of the next hearing will be determined following the response from the Ministry.