Free speech trials in Turkish Courts: Week of 30 April

30 April 2018

Below is the schedule for this week's freedom of speech trials:

30 April Monday 

  • Mezpotamya News Agency journalist Seda Taşkın, who is imprisoned in Sincan Prison in Ankara, will go to trial at the Muş 2. High Criminal Court. She was arrested on January 23, 2018 over accusations of “membership in a terrorist organisation”. Taşkın was taken into custody by police at her house in Ankara. She was previously detained on Dec 20, 2017 related to the same case during reporting in Muş province, Turkey. Prosecution objected to her release after three days in detention and requested her re-arrest. She was accused of “making propaganda for YPG forces”, a reference to Kurdish forces in Syria that Turkey considers as a terror group. 
  • Former co-chair of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtaş and HDP deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder will be tried at the Istanbul Court House where they are accused of statements they made on 17 March 2013 during a Newroz rally in Istanbul's Zeytinburnu district. Demirtaş is being kept at Edirne Prison.  

2 May Wednesday

  • Former Taraf journalists Ahmet Altan, Yasemin Çongar, Yıldıray Oğur, Mehmet Baransu and  Tuncay Opçin are accused of acquiring and publishing state secrets in this trial where the 8th hearing will be heard on Wedensday by the Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court. Baransu is imprisoned in this trial whereas Ahmet Altan, the  former editor-in-chief of the Taraf newspaper, was convicted for life in another trial on 16 February on coup related charges.

3 May Thursday

  • TRT Cameraman Binali Erdoğan will be tried by the İzmir 25th Criminal Court on charges of insulting the Turkish president. Erdoğan, former cameraman of the state-owned Turkish Radio and Television Network (TRT), was arrested on October 20, 2017 on accusations of “insulting the President”. Erdoğan’s posts on social media  were used as evidence against him and he was placed in pretrial detention due to the suspicion that, on release there may be potential for tampering with evidence.He was released on bail on November 20, 2017.
  • Trials of academics who signed a petition calling for an end to Turkish security operations in Kurdish cities in February 2016 continue. On Thursday two academics expelled from the Kadir Has and Bahçeşehir universities will be tried by the 37th High Criminal Court. 
  • Also on Thursday, singer Ferhat Tunç will be tired by the Istanbul 36th High Criminal Court at Şişli Courthouse on charges of "terror propaganda". He faces up to 9 years and four months in prison for posting several critical tweets two years ago.