Journalism and free speech trials: Week of 18 June

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Three journalism trials will be heard this week by Turkish courts, as well as the trial of a rapper who is accused of "promoting drugs" with his lyrics. 

June 19 Tuesday: Çiğdem Toker & Ezhel

  • Investigative journalist Çiğdem Toker will appear before the Istanbul 17. Criminal Court of First Instance on charges of “defamation” of the Agrobay Seracılık company over her reporting on an alleged corruption in trade between Turkey and Russia which involved three agriculture firms from Turkey. The Bayburt Group, of which Agrobay Seracılık is a part, filed a complaint regarding Toker on charges of defamation and is demanding 1,5 million TL as compensation for moral damages.
  • Turkish rapper Sercan İpekçioğlu, who goes by the stage name Ezhel, will be tried on charges of “promoting use of drugs” in his songs. He was arrested on 25 May. He faces up to 10 years for the allegation. His case will be heard by the Anadolu 44th Criminal Court of First Instance at 9.15 am.

June 21 Thursday: Ahmet Altan and Istanbul 10

  • Former editor-in-chief of the Taraf daily Ahmet Altan, who was given a life sentence in another trial for “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order,” will be tried by the İstanbul 30. High Criminal Court on charges of “insulting the Turkish president” in an article. Altan has been in prison since September 2016. His conviction in the main trial where he stood accused of coup-related crimes came on 16 February this year.
  • The trial of 10 human rights activits who were detained for attending a civil society digital security meeting on the Büyükada island last summer and Taner Kılıç, head of Amnesty Turkey, continues on 21 June at the 35. High Criminal Court. Kılıç has been imprisoned for more than a year in the trial. 

June 22 Friday: Didim Özgürses and Mavi Didim newspapers

  • Journalists Mustafa Öge, Erdem Özden, Ergun Korkmaz, Kazım Temiz from the local Aydın newspapers Didim Özgürses and Mavi Didim will appear before the Didim Criminal Court for publishing a statement criticizing Turkey’s military operations in northern Syria, issued by the Party of Labor (EMEP). They stand accused of "inciting the public to hatred and hostility".