Bengisu Kömürcü, İstanbul – Participants in a solidarity campaign organized by now-defunct newspaper Özgür Gündem were accused of distributing terrorist propaganda in proceedings at İstanbul 13. High Criminal Court today. Erol Önderoğlu, Ahmet Nesin and Şebnem Korur-Fincancı all took part in Özgür Gündem’s "Editor-in-Chief-On-Watch" campaign.
Özgür Gündem was shut down by Statutory Decree No. 675, and the attention of prosecutors has turned to those who had tried to help it. Önderoğlu, a representative of Reporters Without Borders, and Korur-Fincancı, the chair of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, were present in court today. Nesin, a writer, left Turkey two years ago and now lives in France, so was absent from court.
Barış Altıntaş and Veysel Ok, Co-Directors of the Media and Law Studies Association, were present and monitored the court proceedings.
Nesin had submitted a statement of defense in French. The court chose to adjourn until January 28 so it could be translated into Turkish.
After the hearing adjourned, Önderoğlu made a short press statement. "The prosecutor's final opinion has not been submitted yet. Thus we expect the proceeding to continue for a while. They are aiming to exclude the civil society out of its legitimate area of operation. We hope that these arbitrary sanctions against civil society come to an end in the near future, which is what will suit the public interest. Nesin's statement was in French, it is now sent out to the expert. We expect to have 2-3 more hearings until the final judgment."
Updated: November 30 2018