Journalism and free speech trials: Week of April 15 - 19

14 April 2019
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This week several journalism and freedom of expression trials will resume at courts, including the trials of Şebnem Korur Fincancı, RSF Turkey representative Erol Önderoğlu and Ahmet Nesin where they face charges for participating in the Özgür Gündem daily’s Editors-in-Chief on Watch campaign and the Sözcü daily trial. Below is a list of this week’s hearings.

15 April, Monday

  • Tenth hearing of the trial where Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Erol Önderoğlu and Ahmet Nesin stand trial for participating in the “Editors-in-Chief On Watch” campaign launched in solidarity with Özgür Gündem daily will resume at İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court. The prosecutor had presented their final opinion in the previous hearing and demanded up to 7.5 years in prison for “provoking to commit crime,” “praising criminals or an offense,” and “terrorist propaganda” charges. A verdict is expected from this hearing.

  • Third hearing of the trial where since shuttered Dicle News Agency (DIHA) reporter Gökhan Öner faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will resume at Denizli 2nd High Criminal Court.

  • Second hearing of the trial where musician Ferhat Tunç faces “insulting the president” charges will resume at Büyükçekmece 7th Criminal Court of First Instance. 10 tweets that he had posted in 2016 are presented as evidence against him in the indictment.

16 April, Tuesday

  • Seventh hearing of the trial where six journalists stand trial for reporting on the emails of Berat Albayrak, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources at the time, which were leaked by RedHack will resume at İstanbul 29th High Criminal Court. Journalists Metin Yoksu, Tunca Öğreten, Eray Saygın, Derya Okatan, Mahir Kanaat and Ömer Çelik face the following charges: terrorist propaganda, hindrance or destruction of an information system, deletion or alteration of data, acting on behalf of a terrorist organization without being a member, and membership to a terrorist organization.

  • Second hearing of the trial where journalist Hasan Cemal faces “terrorist propaganda” charges will resume at İstanbul 36th High Criminal Court. Cemal faces this allegation for a column he wrote on 4 December 2015 titled, “From Silvan: They’ve accustomed us to sorrow and death…
  • Third hearing of the trial where journalist Kibriye Evren faces “membership in a terrorist organization” and “terrorist propaganda” charges for her occupational activities and social media posts will resume at Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court. Evren is tried whilst in detention and has been detained since October 2018. She is also on the 120th day of her hunger strike and her health is in critical condition.

18 April, Thursday

  • Fourth hearing of the trial where writer and human rights advocate Nurcan Baysal faces “provoking the people to hatred and animosity” charges will resume at Diyarbakır 7th High Criminal Court. Baysal faces these charges for her social media posts criticizing Turkey’s military operation in Afrin, Syria.

  • Seventh hearing of the trial where Sözcü newspaper reporter Gökmen Ulu, Sözcü’s website’s former News Editor Mediha Olgun, Chief Financial Officer Yonca Yücekaleli are tried with “aiding and abetting a terrorist organization without being a member” charges and the newspaper’s owner Burak Akbay is tried with “leading an armed terrorist organization” and “making propaganda for an armed terrorist organization” charges will take place at İstanbul 37th High Criminal Court. Two separate Sözcü cases have recently been merged; hence, journalists Metin Yılmaz, Mustafa Çetin, Necati Doğru, Yücel Arı and Emin Çölaşan face the same allegations as part of this trial.