Journalism and free speech trials: Week of Feb 25 - Mar 1

24 February 2019

This week several journalism and freedom of expression cases, including academic Özlem Beyarslan’s case who is defended by Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA), will be heard.

Below is a list of this week’s hearings:

February 25, Monday

  • Also known as the TRT Staff Members Trial, 42 staff members of state-owned media outlet TRT (Turkey Radio and Television Corporation) will appear before Ankara 22. High Criminal Court, on “membership in a terrorist organization” charges, for having alleged links to the Gulen Movement, which the Turkish government believes to be the mastermind behind the 2016 coup attempt. 9 out of 42 defendants are in detention.

February 26, Tuesday

  • Hearing of academic Özlem Beyarslan, defended by MLSA’s Legal Unit, will be held at İstanbul 14. High Criminal Court at 11:45 AM. Beyarslan is charged with “making terrorist propaganda” due to her participation in the peace petition titled “We will not be a party to this crime” criticizing the state’s military involvement in the predominantly Kurdish populated cities. The petition was launched by Academics for Peace Initiative.
  • Ahmet Kanbal, a reporter for the pro-Kurdish Mesopotamia News Agency, will appear before İzmir 2. High Criminal Court at 2:10 PM, on charges of “making terrorist propaganda”, based on the news reports he made regarding the Turkish Army’s military operations in Syria’s Afrin.
  • The now-shuttered pro-Kurdish Dicle News Agency (DİHA) reporter Şerife Oruç will appear before Batman 2. High Criminal Court on “membership in a terrorist organization” charges. Spending almost two years in detention Oruç was released on July 9, pending trial.

February 27, Wednesday

  • Erol Önderoğlu, Şebnem Korur-Fi̇ncanci and Ahmet Nesi̇n will appear before İstanbul 13. High Criminal Court, on “making terrorist propaganda” charges due to their participation in the “Edi̇tors-i̇n-Chi̇ef-on-Watch” solidarity campaign launched by the now-shuttered pro-Kurdish Özgür Gündem daily.

March 1, Friday

  • Also known as the Karşı Newspaper Trial, hearing of 12 people including the daily’s Editor-in-Chief and the owner, will be held at İstanbul 23. High Criminal Court. Defendants are charged with “membership in a terrorist organization”, “aiding and abetting a terrorist organization without being a member” and “violating the confidentiality of a criminal investigation”.