Journalism and free speech trials: Week of April 8 - 12

7 April 2019
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This week several journalism and freedom of expression trials will resume at courts, including the trials of Die Welt correspondent Deniz Yücel and Austrian journalist Max Zirngast.  Below is a list of this week’s hearings.

10 April, Wednesday

  • 11th hearing of the “Özgür Gündem main trial” where 9 people including since shut-down Özgür Gündem daily’s writers and executive staff face “disrupting the unity and integrity of the state,” “establishing an organization for the purpose of committing crimes,” and “terrorist propaganda” charges will be held at İstanbul 23rd High Criminal Court. Those who stand trial are: Filiz Koçali, Aslı Erdoğan, Necmiye Alpay, Ragıp Zarakolu, Zana Kaya, İnan Kızılkaya, Eren Keskin, Kemal Sancılı and Bilge Aykut.

  • Fourth hearing of the trial where Özgürlükçü Demokrasi newspaper’s staff face “membership in a terrorist organization” and “terrorist propaganda” charges will be held at İstanbul 23rd High Criminal Court. Five out of fourteen defendants are tried whilst in detention. While since shut-down Özgürlükçü Demokrasi’s Managing Editor İshak Yasul, owner İhsan Yaşar and editors Mehmet Ali Çelebi, Reyhan Hacıoğlu and Hicran Urun are tried whilst in detention, Davut Uçar, Ersin Çaksu, Fırat Benli, Günay Aksoy, Mizgin Fendik, Önder Elaldı, Pınar Tarlak, Ramazan Sola and Yılmaz Yıldız stand trial without detainment.

11 April, Thursday

  • First hearing of the trial where Austrian journalist and researcher Max Zirngast faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will be held at Ankara 26th High Criminal Court. Zirngast is a political science student at the Middle East Technical University.

  • Third hearing of the trial where Die Welt correspondent Deniz Yücel faces “terrorist propaganda” and “provoking the people to hatred and animosity” charges will resume at İstanbul 32nd High Criminal Court. Yücel, who is represented by MLSA, was imprisoned for a year in Turkey and is now tried in absentia. The prosecutor demands up to 18 years in prison for him.

12 April, Friday

  • Dicle Media News Agency (dihaber) reporter Selman Keleş’s trial where he faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges will resume at Van 4th High Criminal Court. Dihaber has been shut down with a decree-law during the state of emergency.